PAPER PRINTERS will soon become a thing of the past due to the rising popularity of tablets that have more accessible price points, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has said. Speaking with the group’s technical expert Kevin Curran, he told us that within four years, no one will need to print anything on inkjet or laserjet printers anymore, as we will instead access and review documents and images digitally.
“The printer will be a thing of the past and there’ll be no need for hard copies,” Curran said. “The more time you spend online, the more at home you feel reading on tablets instead where everything can now be done virtually.” Curran highlighted that the introduction of cheaper tablets, such as the Aakash a.k.a Ubislate 7+from India, will help push this trend of digital document, image and video viewing to become the norm.
Curran compared the time in which paper printers will have become obsolete to the rise of devices such as Apple’s iPad, which has taken less than four years to achieve global dominance since launch, so much so that people cannot imagine a time without them. He also used Youtube, which has taken only about seven years to become so prominent that it accounts for almost 20 percent of downstream internet traffic in the US, as an example that people are ditching traditional forms of media consumption and becoming more comfortable with the virtual world.
Curran also noted the positives associated with the digital convergence of information, in that it will be more economically friendly and won’t require as much tree harvesting or shipping. While paper printing on inkjet and laserjet machines will see a fatal decline in the home, Curran predicts that this will not be replaced by 3D printing, saying that “not everyone’s home will have one”, like many industry experts have muttered lately. This is due to the lack of affordability of good quality, industry grade 3D printers, which we will instead see appear as dedicated services in local stores, which consumers will take advantage of when they need to.
For example, people will go to a dedicated home fixtures store or website service that owns a 3D printer to have one-off furniture and home accessories created for them and delivered to their doors. Curran said that 3D printing will also become more popular in retail, for example in restaurants, with chefs using food printers to create delicately formed dessert pieces and uniquely shaped foods to improve experiences for customers