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Wi-Fi Direct coming to Android?

January 19, 2018

With Wi-Fi Direct printing becoming ever more commonplace, Android is expected to offer it soon.

The recent Android Open Source Project Gerrit has implied that Android will soon support Wi-Fi Direct printing, which creates an on-the-spot point-to-point direct network between printers and wireless devices.

XDA Developers reports that a newly added code comes with a package “that manages Wi-Fi Direct discoveries and connections, and a user interface with menus for adding printers, selecting saved printers from a list, and sending print jobs to them.”

Previous Android attempts at printer support have been “pretty spotty” – 2013’s Google Cloud Print, which routes print jobs through Google’s servers; Android KitKat’s addition of native printing; and Android Oreo’s Internet Printing Protocol. Until now though, Android had no way to print directly to Wi-Fi connected printers.

Wi-Fi Direct, described by XDA Developers as “a convenient alternative to Bluetooth” due to its non-reliance on pairing and passwords, was developed by global industry association the Wi-Fi Alliance, which certifies Wi-Fi products and standards. As well as communicating with printers, encrypted Wi-Fi Direct connections use Device Discovery and Service Discovery to identify compatible PCs, tablets, smartphones and televisions.

Wi-Fi Direct has been available on Android before, through apps such as Samsung’s Mobile Print, but the upcoming version of Android, Android P, will support it natively for the first time.

Most recent wireless printers by OEMs like HP, Brother, and Epson support Wi-Fi Direct, so the timing seems right for Android to begin to take advantage.


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