The Mopria Alliance was formed by a small group of technology companies with the mission to facilitate and ease the pain of printing from smartphones and tablets. The alliance is a global nonprofit organization whose founding members include Canon, HP, Samsung and Xerox. Today, the membership stands at 16 members, and the Mopria Alliance says it represents over 86% of the worldwide printer business based on unit shipments. The alliance charges for membership but provides a software framework (SDK , API) to developers free of charge. 

To understand the roots of the Alliance, it is important to analyze the mobile printing landscape at the time of its formation. When the Alliance was formed in September 2013, printing from Android mobile devices was a big pain point. Consequently, the Alliance was focused on simplifying the user print experience on Android devices. In contrast, the print experience was far easier on Apple devices since Apple iOS had integrated native printing in November 2010. On Android, users had to download multiple apps to print to multiple brands or even to multiple models within the same brand. The Mopria Alliance aimed to create standards so that mobile app developers and other industry players could focus resources on new features, while leveraging an industry-wide basic print platform. It must be noted that Mopria's focus continues to be on Android devices, given worldwide Android mobile OS market share in Q1 2014 was 81%. Apple iOS is currently not on Mopria's radar since Apple has native print support.

The benefit for customers was that they would be able to print from their mobile device without having to manually connect to a printer or install software. Users could rely on a common user experience that would be consistent across devices and printers.

Following Apple's footsteps, Google incorporated native print capability in Android KitKat (Android version 4.4) in November 2013. With this enhancement, users can print over WiFi or Google Cloud Print directly from apps such as Google Quick Office, Chrome, Gmail or Drive. Additionally, the basic print subsystem framework in Android 4.4 is available to users, developers and vendors free of charge.

Consequently, in February 2014, Mopria refreshed and enhanced its technical framework to reflect Android developments. Enhancements include support for Google Kit Kat, support for PDF documents, NFC tap to print and reference "golden devices" for certification.

  • Mopria plug-in version 1.1 (Mopria Print Service) supports enhanced print features beyond the basic Google print subsystem (Android KitKat) while connecting to Mopria-certified printers and multi-function peripherals (MFPs). KitKat supports the notion of a "print service"–a plug-in that permits customization and advanced print capabilities. With Mopria Print Service, end users can connect and print to any Mopria-certified printer/MFP without additional setup. 

  • Mopria members can run a common test framework across devices that they choose to certify. The benefit for end users is that these devices are interchangeable, in the sense that they provide similar capability and there is no learning curve. The latest list is available on Currently, HP has 103 certified devices, Lexmark has 103 certified devices and Canon has 15 certified devices.

  • The pre-requisites to use Mopria Print services include: smartphone or tablet with Android Kitkat (Android 4.4), a printing device that is Mopria certified, wireless network and apps that support KitKat printing. The mobile device and printer/MFP need to be connected to the same network. Mopria Print Service uses mDNS to automatically discover printing devices either through the local 802.11 wireless networks or directly (Wi-Fi Direct).

  • Mopria-certified Android 4.4 mobile print devices are available for testing. The devices are deemed "golden devices" to represent ideal devices against which all other devices will be benchmarked and tested against. Mopria members (developers) can reference the Mopria test suite and create their own test suite. Subsequently, they can compare the test suite results on the devices to be certified versus the "golden devices," and make changes as necessary.

The print ecosystems, especially hardware vendors, are rapidly incorporating the latest mobile OS enhancements. For example, in three and a half years, the print industry has offered over 1,000 AirPrint compatible printer models. The latest version of Android has a small installed base with penetration at around 5.3% of worldwide Android smartphone and tablet shipments. Consequently, Android KitKat's predecessors have the majority of the Android installed base, and it may be a while before the benefits of Android native mobile printing are evident to users.

There has been some confusion about Mopria's role and direction, especially given that Android KitKat has incorporated print functionality. Mopria will need to continue to add value beyond the basic core Android print functionality. However, this advanced functionality can be a moving target and can change over time. End users and service providers might benefit by purchasing next-generation devices that are Mopria certified or evaluate if their current fleet can be made Mopria feature capable with a firmware update.

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