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Forget PCs, TVs, mobiles, PDAs – we know the future

And it's printers, says one of world's largest printer manufacturers

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While many people are still recovering from the 1990s paperless-office mania ("What do we need paper for anyway?". "I'm not talking to you until you stop being so daft"), Carly Fiorina, IT babe and head of Hewlett-Packard has swung the other way. The printer is going to become the centre of a new "internet-based ecosystem", worth more than all the treasures of Solomon, she says - which is incredibly convenient, as HP knows a thing or two about making printers. Is she serious? Probably not, but then when everything from pens to Barbie dolls has suddenly become e-sexy, she'd be a fool to try not to do the same with her company's staple diet. And so HP has "announced partnerships" with seven service companies including FedEx, stamps.com, printCafe, encryptix.com (we know, we know, we've only heard of the first one too) with the intention of making printing instantly available wherever you are. What the hell does that mean? Here's Carly: "Imagine when you can point your cellphone at a printer and print directions to a restaurant, even your email, while watching your favourite TV show. There will simply be millions of reasons to hit the print button: to buy a stamp, to buy tickets, to print a coupon" Hmmm, just imagine. It's like a fantasyland come true. We really don't know where Carly is going with this one. In fact, it seems like such an unfeasibly daft thing to have a big press conference about it. She is either losing it or has stumbled across some kind of genius concept... ®

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