Review – TealPrint 2.0 by TEalPoint (Palm OS)

by Reads (3,898)

Overview
TealPoint Software has come through again with TealPrint 2.0, an OS5-compatible, graphics- and text-capable printing solution for Palm OS handhelds.  By allowing printing from multiple programs and via multiple connections, TealPrint is probably one of the most flexible print systems around for your Palm.

To use TealPrint 2.0 you will need:

 Any Palm OS or hardware
 A PC running Windows 98 or above and Windows-supported printer (sorry, Mac users)
 100 kb of RAM for the application itself, and 20-30 additional kb for each driver and/or font you wish to install (print jobs, at high color and resolution, can also be upwards of 200 kb).

While the program supports Sony and Palm hi-res/hi-res+ and Handera and Samsung 240 x 320 screens, it will not print full screens from Handera, Samsung, or Sony hi-res+ handhelds; you re limited to 320 x 320.

How it works
TealPrint lets users print from TealPrint-aware programs and the standard OS PIM applications (Memo Pad, Address Book, Date Book, To Do List).  Using TealPrint s screen capture feature, you can also print screenshots from just about any application on your handheld.  TealPrint also comes with a set of bitmap fonts for text printing.

Printing can be accomplished through a direct connection (serial, parallel, or IR) with the appropriate drivers (included with the installation package) and cables or adapters.  The TealPoint website notes which combinations of printers, drivers, and adapters have been tested successfully.

But, even better, you can print to any Windows-supported printer via HotSync.  The driver for HotSync printing interfaces with a print spooling application run on the PC (included with TealPrint s installation package), sending the print job either directly to the default printer attached to the PC or to the screen (depending on the settings selected in the spooler).  However, the spooler must be running to pick up the print job; if not, the print job is lost.  TealPoint recommends placing a shortcut to the spooler in the Window s Startup menu so that it runs automatically when Windows boots up.

The main screen of TealPrint lets users choose which print driver to use, the paper size, color vs. graphics printing, the font, and the print resolution.  You can also adjust page settings such as margins, print region, text justification, etc. in other words, many of the same settings that can be adjusted on a desktop printer.

 

TealPrint-aware programs
Many TealPoint programs (TealPhone, TealDoc, TealPaint) natively support TealPrint.  TealPoint also claims a growing list of third-party applications that support TealPrint as well, including ThoughtManager, DayNotez, and Bonsai.

System programs
The TealPrint main screen has a button labeled Data.  Clicking that option allows users to print records from the built-in Palm applications, as well as system info and various test data.

 

Screen printing
To print data from non-TealPrint aware applications or those beyond the standard OS apps, one performs a screen capture.  First, launch TealPrint and press Screen on the main application screen.  Then set the timer for how long TealPrint should wait before saving screen information, open the application you want to print from, and just wait.  TealPrint handles the rest, and sends the capture to whichever printer is selected at the time (HotSync or specific printer).

 

Clipboard and Text Printing
Any text that has been copied or cut into the Palm OS clipboard can also be captured by TealPrint.  This allows users to print text indirectly from programs that support cutting and pasting of text.  Also, clicking on the Text button on the TealPrint main screen brings up a text entry screen similar to a memo, allowing users to enter, edit, and print short blocks of text.

Thoughts and Summary
One would have to look far and wide to find a printing application for Palm as flexible TealPrint.  Other programs do exist (i.e., PrintBoy), but this reviewer hasn t done a comparison.  The one change that would be nice would be to the ability to set the print spooler as an automatic HotSync conduit that picks up print jobs without having to be manually activated.  Bluetooth and/or WiFi printing would also be a nice touch, and a logical one for future releases.

This program shines at text printing, which is probably going to be its main application (printing memos, addresses, short notes, etc.).  However, it does not handle graphics so well.  When either screen printed or sent to a printer, an address book entry in monochrome at 75 dpi looks fine, but a launcher screen (like YiShow) in 16-bit color at 75 dpi looks pretty bad (see below); 150 dpi is better, but the screen capture takes a long time and still does not look great.  I tried to get a screen capture at 300 dpi, but it took so long I thought my Clie T615c had frozen.

             

The home screen of the launcher YiShow, in 16-bit color at 75 dpi (L) and again at 150 dpi (R); obviously, higher resolution is a must for graphics-intensive screens!


Address Book Output

TealPrint 2.0 is available from TealPoint Software (www.tealpoint.com) for $19.95.   A 30-day trial version is also available.

PROS:
Ability to print graphics and text from almost any Palm OS application

CONS:
Print spooler does not automatically pick up print jobs without being run manually first
No Bluetooth or WiFi printing
Does not handle graphics nearly as well as text
Graphics-intensive screens take a long time to capture and have poor quality

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