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HP's big new bet, and why it could win

Hewlett-Packard's big bet on 3-D printing is likely to pay off, and not because consumers are fascinated by a fad, according to one tech expert.

HP could actually stand to make more money than companies like Makerbot, which has opened up shops at malls across the country to appeal to consumers, simply because HP is going after business customers instead of the average Joe, according to Mike Prospero, reviews editor at Laptop Mag.

Meg Whitman
Jacob Kepler | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Meg Whitman

"Currently, HP is envisioning this more as a business play. Similar to FedEx Kinkos, customers will send HP print jobs, which the company will then fulfill," explained Prospero, who adds that the 3-D printing market has grown by about 27 percent every year for the past three years.

And HP claims to have solved problems that have troubled other 3-D printer makers: the machines are slow and can be a bit sloppy, Prospero noted.

(Read more: 3-D-printing stock jump mostly hype, analysts say)

"From my own experience, even printing something small takes several hours, and if you're not careful, you can easily end up with a mess," he said.

HP said it plans to outline its 3-D printing business strategy in June.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang.

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