With the iPad making it into the hands of more than 500,000 people since its release, many users who are integrating their shiny new iPads into their daily lives are finding one substantial limitation: the inability to print. This limitation out of the box hamstrings business users, students, and anyone else who needs a hard copy of a forgotten presentation, article, or research paper with nothing but an iPad in hand. Fortunately, third-party developers have stepped up to fill this gap. EuroSmartz is one of these developers and PrintCentral is their latest universal app for the iPad and iPhone.
PrintCentral’s features list is quite long, but stand-outs include the ability to print over Wi-Fi or 3G, in-app access to print emails and email attachments, and the use of iPhone OS 3.2′s file sharing feature with the app’s update to version 1.2 that was just released today.
Opening the app for the first time displays a prompt to download the printer helper software from the EuroSmartz site. This software is required for printing, which is the only snag if the only computer you have access to isn’t yours and getting administrator access to install software on it isn’t easy or feasible. Otherwise, the application for the Mac takes up under 3 MB of space and required no set-up at all once installed.
Once the WePrint software was installed and a test document was transferred to the iPad via iTunes, it took under one minute to start printing the document to a printer on a local Wi-Fi network.
Printing over 3G to a printer behind a firewall may require some additional set-up through a Print via Proxy setting and EuroSmartz has some help documentation to support users in getting this up and running.
Printing emails and email attachments requires more work than might be expected when seeing this item in the app’s features list since it requires setting up each email account within the PrintCentral app again – it won’t use the built-in Mail app or pull emails from it. This might be a little tedious to do if you’re in a rush and we’d recommend you set these up before heading out the door with your iPad to avoid any delays should the urgent need to print an attachment arise suddenly.
Beyond offering printing abilities, PrintCentral document storage and viewing on your iPad and basic editing of text documents, though we found that editing was only available with documents created within PrintCentral.
PrintCentral can also access MobileMe iDisks (or any WebDAV server) to transfer and print files.
With so many features, PrintCentral is highly functional but not entirely intuitive. Fortunately, help files can be accessed within the app (an internet connection is needed to view them) and on the EuroSmartz site.
PrintCentral costs $9.99 and comes in a single universal version compatible with both the iPad and iPhone.