In recent years, ink jet has emerged as one of the mainstream printing technologies. Since its market inception in 1985, Hewlett-Packard's thermal ink jet technology (TIJ) has evolved progressively from a 12 nozzle 96 dpi print head to a 300 nozzle 600 dpi print head. TIJ has made rapid progress enabling it to print text output on plain paper that challenges laser printers, and realistic photographic images that rival silver halide, at a low consumer price. Thermal ink jet technology continues to enjoy a greater unit market share than any other digital printing technology and all other ink jet technologies combined. The driving forces for the advancement of TIJ have been better, faster, and cheaper printers for consumers. These goals involve key attributes such as ink performance (gamut, sharpness, fastness), minimum deliverable colorant (drop volume), rate of colorant delivery (firing frequency, nozzle integration, firing chamber volume), and print engine cost per unit throughput. In this paper, key technology challenges for TIJ will be outlined. New materials and new processes that are required for the advancement of thermal ink jet printing are discussed. Recently, competing ink jet methods have (re-)emerged, notably piezoelectric ink jet. References will be made to piezoelectric ink jet when appropriate.