Free NetGear App Makes Virtually Any Printer AirPrint Compatible

NetGear, Inc. has upgraded its Genie App so that virtually any printer or MFP, whether connected to the network or via USB, is compatible with Apple’s AirPrint mobile printing solution. Previously, Apple mobile users could only print to AirPrint-compatible printers and MFPs – unfortunately, though, only a small range of printers currently are AirPrint-compatible.
With the new NetGear Genie App, however, Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch iOS users can wirelessly print to any printer or MFP, whether connected wirelessly to the home network, USB-connected to a PC, or connected through a USB port to a NetGear ReadyShare print-capable router. The Windows OS and Mac OS NetGear Genie App upgrade is available for download at no charge at netgear.com/genie. NetGear Genie is also available for download for Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, and Android Smartphones and tablets from the Apple store and Google Play store.

NetGear Genie’s user interface for mobile printing.

For more information on the NetGear Genie App, visit www.netgear.com/genie.

Our Take

Genie sounds cool but an analysis of the feature set tells us that since a USB-connected printer can process AirPrint jobs via Genie, there is software running on the PC that directs the incoming AirPrint job to the printer. It also means that a PC needs to be running with print drivers installed in order for Genie to do its thing. Remote printing solutions such as HP ePrint and AirPrint only require that a printer is installed on a network with Internet access–a running PC and/or print drivers on either end are not required.

Keep in mind that AirPrint only functions with printers connected to a local wireless network that you have access to. The only thing that is “remote” about it is that you can print wirelessly and most mobile device users who need to print are thankful that they can even print in the first place. It seems to us that a $99 HP Officejet 4620 e-AiO with AirPrint/ePrint compatibility is a better solution that allows you to print from any iOS application that supports share-to-e-mail, not just those that feature AirPrint capability. Plus, HP ePrint is truy a “remote” printing solution because you can send print jobs to your ePrint capable printer from anywhere and from any e-mail capable device, and you don’t need a PC running nor print drivers installed on anything. Finally, in case you don’t know: Apple, not developers determines which apps support AirPrint, so its implementation is inconsistent between apps–even Apple’s in-house apps–so the ability to print via share-to-e-mail/ePrint neatly fills in the “printing gaps in the apps.”

In summary, NetGear Genie is a free workaround for iOS users who cannot afford a $99 AirPrint/ePrint capable printer and don’t mind having a PC up and running 24/7.

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