Android 9 (Pie) will now support Wi-Fi Direct printing via Android’s Default Print Service, according to a new announcement from the Mopria Alliance. The non-profit group first teamed up with Google on the out-of-the-box printing solution back with the launch of Android 8.0 (Oreo), introducing Wi-Fi network printing via the Android Open Source Project. With the latest version of the OS and through ongoing collaboration, Android Default Print Service is bolstered by the addition of a Wi-Fi Direct option, allowing direct mobile-to-printer tasks with select printers. To clarify, the previous version required a mobile device to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the printer. Wi-Fi direct utilizes an encrypted end-to-end connection between a printer and an Android 9 device without that requirement. Users on the new platform can choose between either option when printing to select Mopria-certified printers while Android 8.0 handsets or tablets will still be able to continue printing through the prior method.
Turning on the service is fairly straightforward; users need to navigate to device settings, then to 'Connected devices' in order to find the 'Printing' menu. On some tablets and smartphones, the latter of those menus stands on its own rather than under a 'Connected devices' option. Selecting 'Default Print Service' lets users turn on or off the service and discover nearby printers. Meanwhile, the alliance has also announced the upcoming launch of a similarly-enabled scanning application to accent its standalone printing application and library, Mopria Print Service. With the new app, called Mopria Scan, users will be able to scan from their all-in-one office printer or scanner directly to their mobile device as long as it is among the above-mentioned certified devices. A pre-release version of that application is already available on the Google Play Store and the final version is slated for full release by the end of the year. The applications allow for a wider variety of Android smartphones or tablets to take advantage of the same printing functionality allowed by default on Android 8.0 and Android 9 devices.
For now, the alliance says that there are currently over 3,000 models of printer supported by its services on Android Oreo and Android Pie and around 100 million of those deployed. Those are models brought to market by Mopria Alliance partners, including popular brands such as Canon, HP, Samsung, Xerox, Brother, Dell, Epson, Kyocera, and Lexmark, among others. Not every model made by those brands is compatible but a decent portion of those are, so there's a good chance many users can access the feature without needing to buy a brand new printer. Mopria Alliance also maintains a searchable index of compatible printers available at its site.