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Is 2011 The Year That DLNA Kills the Printer Driver?

One of the most frustrating aspects of setting up a printer is the need to download and install a huge driver file to get the device talking to your PC. I’m not sure just what the printer manufacturers are packing in there, but 100MB+ downloads aren’t the most fun when you simply want to print a page of A4 text.

Fortunately, next year may well see more manufacturers dropping the printer driver. Last week, the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) announced that there was a 200 percent increase in DLNA certified printers released in 2010. The DLNA networking standard ensures interoperability between devices from different manufacturers – whilst traditionally that’s meant more for media streaming than other areas of networking, it seems as if the manufacturers are starting to develop certified products across other categories.

In the realms of printing, that means the end of the printer driver – digital camera X is able to transfer photos directly to printer Y without the need to copy the file to a PC first. With IDC estimating that the size of the “digital universe” will be 44 times larger in 2020 than 2009, it’s good to hear that someone’s figuring out an easier way to get our files transferred between devices much more easily than today.

Before you hit delete on that printer driver, a little perspective. The quoted 200% increase in real terms is an increase from 14 models launched in 2009 to 40 models in 2010 from the likes of HP, Samsung and Epson. But for sure, we’re likely to see that number grow exponentially next year and beyond, saving the world a whole heap of bandwidth. DLNA Printing – definitely a trend to check out at CES next month. 

Image credit: PC Magazine

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