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Monday, April 21, 2008

New portfolio on printers

Hewlett Packard’s Image & Printing Group (IPG) has added teeth to its Print 2.0 strategy, formulated by the company a few months ago, with the roll-out of 25 printing products and solutions, the company’s largest single offering to date.
Comprising printers, software and Web-based resources, this slew of offerings is aimed at small and medium businesses (SMBs) and home offices (SOHOs).

“These products will enable our SMB customers to have a level playing field against larger-sized competitors by improving their marketing effectiveness, increase productivity and reduce costs involved in their printing needs”, Herbert Koeck, H-P Vice-President (Commercial Printing), Asia-Pacific, said at the launch event titled “Business Go Print 2.0”, organised by the company for media persons from Asia-Pacific and Japan.

While the number and range of printers unveiled by the company - 17 in all, covering both laser and inkjet technologies and catering to single function, multi function and all-in-one needs - was in itself eye-catching, there were a couple of other noteworthy first-time offerings from the company.

First-time offerings

The company has decided to offer Colorsphere, the company’s patented ‘chemically grown’ toner technology that was hitherto found only in H-P’s higher-end printers, across all their colour laser printers including the entry-level ones. For an SMB customer, this provides access to professional quality prints at a much lower cost.

In another beginning, HP came out with its first LED-based scanner, moving away from the traditional halogen bulb. LED (Light emitting diodes) technology uses much less power and are ever-ready for use, eliminating the waiting time that the halogen bulb-based scanners need. The company has incorporated these scanners in their new multi-function range of printers.

Speaking about the fleet of printers, Christopher Morgan, Senior Vice-President, Imaging and Printing Group, Asia-Pacific & Japan said, “The needs of SMBs are various and vary from one case to another. Now we can say that we have a printer on offer for any SMB’s needs and expectations.”

New resources

The company has also come out with a few new software tools and online resources to help SMBs conceptualise, design and print their own marketing material, eliminating the need for a professional service provider.

These tools and templates ship with all the printers and can also be downloaded from the company’s website for free.

Among the eye-catchers at the event were the entry-level colour laser printer CP 1215 which, while offering Colorsphere technology and inline single-pass printing, can also print in black at the same cost-per-page as a monochrome printer; a multi-function printer CM 1312 which boasts of instant-on scanning and printing; a single-function monochrome ‘workhorse’ printer P4515 which claims to have broken the one-second-per-page barrier at a printing capacity of 62 pages per minute and the H-P in-house Marketing Starter Kit.

The imaging tools and templates contained in the Kit work harmoniously with a word-processor and are easy to use even for a layman.

KUSA - Printers have moved beyond just printing documents.

Some all-in-one printers let you remove the red-eye when you print photos. Some can even use your cell phone to print from. Consumer Reports wanted to know: Should you push your plain printer aside for a multipurpose, all-in-one machine? Manufacturers are offering many more features on all-in-one inkjet printers. Generally, they're offering bare-bones versions of their plain inkjet printers.

To compare quality, Consumer Reports put 45 printers through a number of tests. Standardized documents were printed and then compared. Testers also printed photos and evaluated them. Tests show both kinds of inkjet printers were pretty comparable in performance. But there could be big differences in how much it costs to print a page of text or a photo.

Over the long haul of the printer, that can actually add up more in terms of price than the initial sticker price. For an all-in-one inkjet printer, Consumer Reports recommends the Canon Pixma MP520. It's a Best Buy at $140. If all you do is print, and you don't need an all-in-one printer, Consumer Reports named another Canon Pixma a Best Buy. It's the Canon Pixma iP4500, for 120 dollars.

There are a number of money-saving moves you can make when printing. If it's something from the Web, first preview the pages so that you can delete blank pages at the end. When possible, print on a lower-quality setting. And using double-sided printing can cut down on the amount of paper you use.

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