When I recently used an Android 4.x device I noticed that some applications such as the calendar and the image viewer have a printing option. As I have two network printers in my Wi-Fi network at home I was curious if and how this would work.
To my surprise both printers were instantly usable without configuration. When the printing option is selected, Android searched for printers on the network and within a few seconds presented both my network printers, an old HP Photosmart C7280 and a somewhat newer Samsung MW-2525W laser printer. And both worked without any further configuration. Interesting, I thought, how is that possible!? When looking at what Android configured for the printers, I noticed that it uses port 9100 for communication with both. So perhaps it uses the Page Description Language (PDL) in one of its forms as described here?
I know there's a myriad of third party printing tools that will print just about anything from an Android phone these days. But from a security point of view I am a bit hesitant to allow third party tools I don't now much about to handle my documents.
It seems there is no native printer API in Android 4.x at the moment so both the calendar and image application must have proprietary built in printer support. But it's a start so perhaps we'll see more general Android built in printer support in the future!? Especially for tablet style device this would surely be appreciated by many