Phanfare Taps the Cloud to Print Photos via the iPhone

phanfarePhanfare, a subscription-based video and photo archival service, has paired up with Hewlett-Packard to offer an updated version of its Photon application for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it’s available starting today for free in the iTunes App store. The new version of Photon lets you print photos from your Phanfare acccount on most networked HP inkjet printers. This new capability makes the iPhone a more powerful device because it acts as a gateway to the photos Photofare stores in the cloud, enabling the handset to achieve nearly the same efficiency as a PC.

This is another attempt by HP to marry its printing technology with mobile phones. Last year, HP introduced its free iPrint Photo application that lets iPhone and iPod touch users print 4×6 photos stored on their devices to most HP inkjet printers hooked up to a local Wi-Fi network. And just this spring, RIM said it licensed HP’s CloudPrint technology, which lets people print documents to any networked printer, for use on BlackBerry mobile phones. Antonio Rodriguez, HP’s chief technologist for Inkjet and Web Solutions, said today that this capability is currently being rolled out to enterprises. Rodriguez said HP’s partnership with Phanfare is part of the computing giant’s strategy to “make the smartphone as general purpose a computing device as possible.” Indeed, though a mobile phone has a limited memory, Photon offers you the ability to access all your photos in the cloud and print them without being tied to a PC, making the iPhone a much more potent machine.

The app is limited in that it’s only compatible with HP printers on your local area network. The startup’s CEO and co-founder, Andrew Erlichson, told us that the resolution is slightly lower than if you printed out the photos from its web service. Phanfare stores its data in Amazon’s S3 cloud. Overall, Photon’s new offering is one we hope others build upon in the future to make smartphones more full-featured. Phanfare received $2.5 million in funding led by Azure Capital in January 2008, according to Erlichson, and has raised around $5 million in total.

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