"Enabling Access to Supported Capabilities of Printers Prior to
Patent application serial number 490301 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The disclosed embodiments relate to printers for computer systems. More specifically, the disclosed embodiments relate to techniques for enabling access to supported capabilities of printers prior to installing printer-specific software for the printers.
"Printers are often a problem for computer users. When a computer user initially installs a printer, the cabling and power cords are typically relatively straightforward to hook up. However, the user also has to install a printer-specific driver, which involves loading the driver from a disk and/or navigating to a website and downloading the driver. Even if the printer driver is already loaded into the computer system, the user may have to load and install an update for the driver from the printer manufacturer's website. Such installation operations are time-consuming and commonly require the user to find and enter a long software-license key.
"Printers pose an even bigger problem for users of portable electronic devices, such as laptop computers, tablet computers, portable media players, or smartphones. Such portable electronic devices are seldom configured with the requisite printer driver software. In addition, installing the appropriate printer driver can be bothersome, especially if the user of the portable electronic device only intends to use the nearby printer once or twice. Portable electronic devices may also have limited storage space, which makes it impractical for them to store a large number of printer drivers.
"To mitigate problems associated with installing printers and/or printer drivers, a portable electronic device may include a 'driverless' printing system that enables use of compatible printers without downloading, installing, and/or using printer drivers for the printers. For example, the driverless printing system may automatically obtain printer capability information from a printer that is compatible with the driverless printing system. The driverless printing system may also use the capability information to generate a print job and send the print job to the printer without installing a printer driver for the printer.
"The driverless printing system may thus reduce the overhead associated with performing print jobs using a variety of printers and/or printer capabilities. On the other hand, the driverless printing system may lack the ability to accommodate other capabilities and/or features of the printers, such as scanning and/or faxing capabilities. Consequently, the user may be unable to use the other capabilities and/or features without manually downloading and installing printer drivers for the printers."
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