HP builds in colour control in focus on business printers

TORONTO — Hewlett Packard announced major additions to its commercial printing and imaging portfolio Monday in an effort to focus more on the growing needs of businesses in the areas of management and cost control.

Referring to some of the new technologies, Peter Grady, director of the imaging and printing group at HP, introduced the products under a central theme – “colour is hot.”

“We believe the time is now and IDC is forecasting a tenfold increase in colour laser printing and by 2008 it will overtake black and white or monochrome printing,” said Grady.

To address cost and control concerns that many medium to large businesses face, HP unveiled the Color Laserjet 3800. At a starting price of $999, the printer boasts speeds of 22 pages per minute in both colour and black, according to Christine Taschin, business manager of colour laser category. “Customers have also asked us for control as related to colour specifically and new to this colour laserjet is colour access control, which allows an office manager to decide who’s using colour, when they’re using it and where they use,” she said. In addition, Taschin said, a new colour sphere toner is included in the colour laserjets to produce higher gloss prints.

And just less than year since it entered the multifunction printer (MFP) market, HP has launched the Colour Laserjet 4730mfp to target the multifaceted needs of the enterprise.

“The 4730mfp fills a huge gap in the marketplace,” said Ryan Dudgeon, MFP category business manager. “It has a much smaller footprint than the traditional copier and it also has all the common functions,” he added. With a starting price of $6,199 and $7,699 for fully loaded version, the 4730mfp combines laserjet capabilities with the extended functionality of a printer, copier, scanner, fax and digital sending.

“Workgroups are asking for more tools and devices, to do more with less and this product is an example of how you can give tools to employees in the workgroup to perform better,” said Dudgeon.

According to IDC research analyst Brad Hughes, Hewlett Packard has made its mark on the printer spectrum of the marketplace and is now taking off in the realm of its business offerings. “HP has the strength in the consumer market and is now moving up from there,” said Hughes. “They know what’s on the mind of IT people and in the business space, IT managers already know the name and they’re leveraging that previous experience they’ve had with HP.” 

For the small to medium business marketplace, HP has introduced Officejet Pro K550 colour printers designed to simplify the production of marketing materials. By using HP’s marketing assistance software, available on CD, SMBs can easily and affordably create their own in-house marketing documents, according to Jean-Paul Desmarais, business manager, imaging and printing group. “It’s easy for the business owner, they don’t have to pay a graphics designer hundreds of dollars for each custom design,” said Desmarais. “You can produce the materials as you need them without going to a copy centre. HP created this software to help enable that in a small business.”

Based on HP’s Scalable Printing Technology (introduced in July), the K550 enables SMBs to produce laser-quality black text and professional colour documents at up to twice the speed and 30 percent lower colour cost-per-page than colour laser printers, Desmarais added. The starting price of the Officejet Pro K550 is $249.

Comment: itbusiness.ca

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