This year alone, the number of innovations in desktop 3D printers has been remarkable -- from a product that can scan, copy and fax 3D objects in one device to an affordable 3D printer for larger objects. And then there are the big companies getting involved in the 3D printing business from UPS to Staples to Amazon. But there's one company which has been surprisingly quiet when it comes to the 3D printing, the world's leader in the 2D printer market, Hewlett-Packard.
Until now, that is. The Register reports that HP will release its own 3D printer by the middle of 2014. As HP CEO said at the Canalys Channels Forum in Bangkok:
"We are excited about 3D printing," Whitman said, adding that it is a natural business for HP to enter given its heritage in printers. "We want to lead this businesses. HP labs is looking at it."
Having given itself time to analyze what works and what doesn't in the industry, it will be fascinating to see if HP is able to take 3D printing to the next level. There are two ways HP says it's planning to improve 3D printers: faster printing speed and lower costs.
The things HP's boffins are considering is the time it takes to print an object. "To print a bottle can take eight to ten hours. That's all very interesting, but it is like watching ice melt," she said. Lower cost is also on the agenda.
And there is certainly opportunity for a company like HP to find success in the 3D printer market. Gartner projects that 3D printer shipments are expected to grow by 50 percent this year and 75 percent in 2014.
Related on SmartPlanet: