Building upon last year’s introduction of its digital copier line, Hewlett-Packard Co. yesterday announced 14 new printing and imaging products. The announcement includes a multifunction printer aimed at the SMB market, the HP LaserJet 4345 MFP, which HP says is a third of the cost of similar devices.

Available

at the end of the month through distribution and resellers, the MFP is capable of printing up to 45 pages per minute (ppm) and offers users basic features such as printing, copying, scanning and faxing.

“”The 4345 is fitting right into the 41 page per minute to 60 ppm space,”” said Charles Dimov, business manager, enterprise products, imaging and printing group at HP Canada, adding that category represents the majority of printers in the photocopier market. Printers in this class typically cost around $15,000 to $20,000 whereas the 4345 MFP carries an estimated street price of $3,199, he said.

“”This is what we’d phrase as a category killer with the pricing that it has come out at,”” said Peter McMahon, vice-president of sales and marketing at Protek Systems, a London, Ont.-based VAR and copier dealer. Protek was one of a group of HP VIP Elite partners that was invited to attend a Webinar last week on the product announcements.

In talking to its customers over the last couple of years, HP found that 80 per cent of them were paying for copiers that featured functions they rarely used. “”A lot of our customers have come back saying, ‘It’s great we have these big, honking photocopy units. They’ve got all these wonderful features and neat gizmos.’ But most of our users don’t really need those,”” said Dimov.

“”Our clients came back and said, ‘We’re paying an awful lot for a unit that we have some basic requirements for.'””

HP saw this as an opportunity to “”revolutionize”” the MFP space and provide the clients with what they need as opposed to giving them an overload of underused functions, said Dimov. These functions include the ability to print 8.5 x 11- and legal-sized documents, two to three pages at a time, stapling functions and scan-to-e-mail.

“”This unit is basically targeting that market to say let’s strip out all of the extra stuff that users don’t need.”” He added the intention is what HP likes to call a “”balanced deployment,”” where the device is deployed into department settings and workgroups of six to 25 people. If the user finds that they need more features and functionality, then HP would introduce one of its higher-end copier lines to accommodate those needs.

“”HP did listen to the consumers and the dealers in terms of what the important features and needs were. That’s what they seem to have implemented into this 4345. In doing so I think that’s how they’ve been able to make it so aggressively priced,”” said McMahon.

 

Powered by Canon’s engine technology, the device also features networking and management capabilities, including HP Web Jetadmin 7.8, which can be downloaded for free from HP’s Web site.

Dimov added that the application “”sniffs out”” all of the different printers on the network and allows the IT manager to keep track of various measures including how many pages the company is producing, how many printers they have and if they are deployed in the right place.

Other products announced in the LaserJet series include the 9040 MFP, 9500 MFP and the MFP Analog Fax Accessory – available on Nov.30. HP also launched the Designjet 4000 series, availability in Feb. 2005, the 9200 Digital Sender, also available at the end of the month. Software releases include Digital Sending Software 4.0, Digital Send Authentication Solution, AutoStore and Web Delivery 1.5.1.

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