Printer market hots up as HP follows Epson's MFD lead

SMB buyers now have a whole new category of printer products to consider after HP yesterday followed Epson’s recent lead and launched its first colour laser MFD.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 11, 2005

SMB buyers now have a whole new category of printer products to consider after HP yesterday followed Epson’s recent lead and launched its first colour laser MFD. Epson was the first firm to announce a colour laser MFD aimed at business users when it launched its AcuLaser CX11N series just one week ago. Now HP has decided that the time is right to enter this emerging product sector. HP unveiled its new LaserJet 2800 series at an exclusive ‘Shaping the Future’ press event in London. This was HP IPG’s first dedicated SMB gathering for the EMEA region and also included the launch of 14 other new products for SMBs. Aimed squarely at small and medium sized businesses looking to consolidate and simplify their print, scan and copying operations, the Color LaserJet 2800 AiO (all-in-one) is network ready and touts print and copy speeds of 19ppm in mono and 4ppm in colour. The 2800 includes HP’s ImageREt 2400 technology to offer enhanced print resolutions and its built-in scanner is capable of 1200dpi optical and 19,200dpi enhanced resolutions, as well as being able to scan direct to e-mail and Windows folders. Two versions of the 2800 will hit the market over coming weeks: the 2820 is a three-in-one device offering print, copy and scan functions for an end user price of roughly $1.160; while the more feature-packed 2840 costs $1,290, through which users also get fax functionality and built-in digital memory card slots. “As a solution for multi-function tasks, the HP Color LaserJet 2800 All-in-One series is remarkably versatile,” said Michael Hoffmann, senior vice president, Imaging and Printing Group Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), HP. Laser printer technology has been around for a decade now, but it was only recently that colour machines broke through the sub-$1,000 price barrier and so became truly affordable for the majority of SMB customers. This price issue was the reason that HP waited to launch its first colour laser all-in-one, Hoffman told ITP.net. “People have an insatiable appetite for price reductions,” he explained, “but it’s only really now that we’ve been able to offer this technology at what we considered the right price.” Aside from the 2800, the other key product launch for SMB printer users yesterday was the unveiling of HP’s bargain-priced colour laser, the HP Color LaserJet 2600n. Aimed at small firms who are looking for a way to bring expensive, outsourced colour print jobs in-house for the first time, this $514 product is compact and lightweight (less than 18kg), quiet (just 47dB) and can handle both mono and colour print jobs at speeds of up to 8ppm. “The 2600 answers the call for an extremely affordable colour printer that boasts not only brilliant print quality but is also quiet, fast, network-ready, lightweight and energy efficient,” commented Hoffman. HP’s Shaping the Future event also included the launch of new business inkjets, such as the low-cost Business Inkjet 1000, wide-format releases including the new A6-A3 Deskjet 1280, digital business projectors, and new paper optimised for use with laser printers.

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