LAS VEGAS – In the largest product rollout in its history, Canon announced on Wedneday 14 hardware products as well as platform technologies and software solutions.

“”For us to announce this many products at one event is a strong

statement to the changing nature of technology in the marketplace,”” said Dennis Amorosano, director and general manager of integrated solutions division at Canon. He added the announcement also helps Canon distinguish itself from its competitors in the market, which include HP, Xerox and Epson.

Amorosano made the announcement at Canon USA’s annual Digital Solutions Form at a private press and analyst briefing. DSF, which was held in Las Vegas for the first time in the show’s history, attracted 1,000 attendees including dealers and customers.

Hardware and software products will be available through Canon’s dealer channel starting next month and continuing through to early 2005.

Amorosano said the announcements represent Canon’s movement towards more business-oriented solutions rather than just selling point products.

“”We’re transitioning our business from a box-oriented business to the ability to connect networks and help customers more effectively drive their workflow,”” he said.

Tod Pike, senior vice-president and general manager of sales, marketing and administration at Canon, said its business solutions division is close to reaching its goal of selling US$100 million in software through its dealer channel by year’s end.

“”Canon business solutions has been the second-fastest growing dealer group in 2004,”” he said.

While Canon’s total ISG growth by product is up six per cent in 2004 (Jan. to Sept.), the black and white segment is down three per cent, according to a report by Gartner Dataquest. Pike added that while black and white is down, colour is up 33 per cent, which he said is “”encouraging.””

Keith Kmetz, program director of hardcopy peripherals, solutions and services at International Data Corp., said colour has made some headway, but still has a ways to go in terms of mainstream adoption.

“”We’re seeing colour as not just a specialty product but becoming a spec,”” said Kmetz, who attended Wednesday morning’s press conference. “”We’re anticipating up to 2008 that colour will still be a minority percentage.”” In 2003 IDC reported that 90 per cent of the market was black and white with the remainder in colour. Kmetz added that colour is growing anywhere from one to three per cent a year in terms of market share.

New products in imageRUNNER black and white engines include 2270, 2870, 3570 and 4570, which will begin shipping in November. Ranging in price from US$5,800 to US$11,200, this group of models feature the latest ImagePlatform Architecture, Canon’s Multifunctional Embedded Application Platform (MEAP) technology, enhanced device management, security and Internet-enabled capabilities, space-saving design and energy-saving features.

Entry-level imageRUNNER models include 2230, 2830 and 3530, which are scheduled to ship in the first half of 2005, Amorsano said. Geared towards a more price-sensitive market, these devices do not offer MEAP technology support and have a smaller LCD display. Pricing details were not released.

Also released in the imageRUNNER line were the 5570, 6570, 8070, 85+, 9070 and 105+, which will be available starting early next year. These models are aimed at mid-sized to large corporate enterprises.

In colour, Canon announced the imageRUNNER C5800, which incorporates its Amorophorous Silicon (A-Si) drum technology, which originally debuted on the imageRUNNER C6800 that launched earlier this year.

Output speeds across the imageRUNNER line range from 22 pages per minute (ppm) up to 105 ppm.

New software releases include Virtual Mailbox, which enables users to place documents in their own or a colleague’s mailbox that can then be printed at any Virtual Mailbox-enabled Canon imageRUNNER device within the organization locally or remotely. Canon also released new versions of NetSpot Accountant, imageWARE Document Manager Client for MEAP platforms, imageWARE Publishing Manager Professional Edition, eCopy ShareScan Open Platform and Canon Print Server Appliance. All products are available starting next month.

The conference wraps up Thursday.

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