SAN FRANCISCO - Hewlett-Packard on Monday rolled out new printers that can directly access the Web and print documents without having to go through a personal computer.

HP said the new printing platform would allow users to print documents directly from such devices as a smart phone, a netbook or a tablet.

"Our customers feel like they have all this content trapped in their smart phones or iPad," Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group said in an interview. "We have this content explosion going on, and they want to print it."

The new printers, HP said, would let users "transform their printers into publishing platforms from which they can customize print apps and schedule timed delivery of content, such as news from and Yahoo and creative after-school activities from Disney."

The printers, with prices starting at $99, "will be the first printers able to talk to the 'Google Cloud' without requiring a local proxy PC or Web appliance, which means people will be able to access Google Docs, photos and calendar directly from their printers."

Other print apps will be available from other HP partners, such as Facebook and Yahoo Inc., the company said.

Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said the new products could potentially expand HP's reach.

"The neat thing about this is you get more devices that are accessing the Internet and there are more opportunities for HP to capture the print opportunity," he said in an interview on Friday.

HP is the dominant printer maker in the world, with 41.1 percent of total market share in terms of shipments in the first quarter, according to IDC. Rival Canon Inc. was No. 2 with 16.7 percent, followed by Epson with 15.1 percent.

(c) 2010, Inc.

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