What secrets does the recent HP Officejet 8715 firmware update hold?

HP once issued a firmware update designed to lock out third party ink. What do you suppose is in this update?

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Jumping in the wayback machine and going back to 2015, we all can remember that HP issued a printer firmware update that locked printers into only using HP ink cartridges. This meant that printers would sense the use of recycled cartridges or third party cartridges and would present an error and stop working.

When asked, HP offered this comment:

HP is constantly improving security for its products and customers. Beginning in late 2015, HP implemented updates to the firmware related to the security chip in HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X printers that maintains secure communications between the cartridge and the printer. The purpose of this update is to protect HP’s innovations and intellectual property. These printers will continue to work with refilled or remanufactured cartridges with an Original HP security chip. Other cartridges may not function. In many cases this functionality was installed in the HP printer and in some cases it has been implemented as part of an update to the printer’s firmware.

Customers were not informed that the purpose or at least one of the purposes of the firmware update was to lock out third party ink cartridges. As one would expect, this caused an industry backlash and eventually the company offered a tepid apology and issued a firmware update walking back some of the changes.

Flash forward to today.

Recently I was sent an alert telling me that there was a firmware update available for my HP Officejet Pro 8715 printer. Before downloading and installing this update, I wanted to know what it did.

If the update details from the notice (found here) were examined, the only statement about what the update does was "This Firmware update improves User Experience." There was no mention of what was being fixed or how it "improved user experience."

So, I chatted with a member of the HP support team. Here are my questions and the tech's answers:

Dan Kusnetzky: What does the HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 All-in-One Printer series Firmware Update (ver WBP2CN1716AR) do?

Sam: Dan, firmware updates usually updates the printer hardware functionality.

Dan Kusnetzky: What is the update going to do to my printer in detail.

Sam: You can compare this with the app updates, as the updates are for fixings bugs and making the product better.

Dan Kusnetzky: If you don't know the answer, can you point me to something on the HP website that presents, in detail, what this update is going to do.

In the end, all the tech was able to do was to describe the process to update the printer and, apparently, didn't have a clue as to what it did in detail. Fair enough, I thought, their tech reps can't be an expert on each and every product HP offers.

So, I've reached out to analyst relations over at HP to see if they can find out what this update is supposed to do, that is, what problems is it expected to fix.

My question to you is would you trust HP after their previous history and download and install a firmware update knowing only that it was supposed to "improve User Experience?"

I think that I'm going to wait until I get a more detailed answer.

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