HP prints out new high-speed inkjet technology

Five years of development and US$1.4 billion of investment later, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) unveiled scalable inkjet technology Monday it claims will substantially improve the speed and performance of home and small and midsize office printers. The company also plans to take the technology to the commercial market, HP said.

The new technology centers on the assembly of a new inkjet printhead. Instead of the printhead components being welded together in postproduction, the components in the new inkjet are created as a single unit via a photolithographic process resulting in more accurate, faster and cheaper printing, HP said in a press release.

“This technology is the next step in our business transformation — the master key that unlocks new market opportunities and further growth in our printer business,” Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president for HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, said in the release.

HP announced a number of printers based on the new technology, including consumer models — the HP Photosmart 8250 Photo Printer and the HP Photosmart 3000 All-In-One series. Both printers can deliver 4×6-inch prints in as little as 14 seconds for a minimum cost of $0.24 a print, HP said. The Photosmart 8250, priced at $199, will ship this month, while the Photosmart 3000, costing between $299 and $399, is due to appear later in the year.

For the small and midsize business market, HP plans to release the HP Officejet Pro K550 Color Printer series in the fall, which the company claims will double print speeds of existing sub-$500 color laser printers at a 30 percent lower cost per page.

HP also announced half a dozen new portable photo printers including the HP Photosmart 475 GoGo Photo Printer, costing $279, with the ability to print 5×7-inch photos and store over 1,000 images. The HP Photosmart 420 series GoGo Photo Studio is a bundled camera, printer and dock, priced from $299.

The company also beefed up its digital camera line, with the HP Photosmart R818, R817 and M517 devices, ranging from $149 to $399. Both the R818 and the R817 allow users to create panoramic images within the device, HP said.

Through a tie-up with U.S. pharmacy chain Walgreens Co., come September, customers will be able to upload their digital images to HP’s Snapfish Web site and then pick up prints of the photos at the Walgreens of their choice or receive them by mail, HP announced.

HP is set to expand on its announcements at a press conference Monday at 10 a.m. EDT, webcast at www.hp.com/go/bigbang2005.

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