Internet printing a black and white issue

NEC Technologies Inc. has introduced a new line of laser monochrome printers equipped with the ability to print through the Internet, a feature the company first released in its colour SuperScript 870 and SuperScript 1800 laser printers.

The San Jose, Calif. company plans to target the small-office/home-office market with its new SuperScript 1400 series.

“One of the exciting features (of the 1400 series) is the ability to print over the Internet,” said John Stanisic, an analyst with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto. “I think demand for a feature like that is going to be growing soon. The amount of Canadians that telecommute and don’t necessarily work in the office every day is going to increase over the next few years.”

NEC’s Internet Printing Protocol standard works by allowing users to log on to a specific Web address (commonly numbers, but users can assign a name to the URL), and then print a certain file off their computer. The computer does not require a printer driver.

“So if you’re driving into the office and you have to give a presentation, and you need to make 10 copies of the presentation for the people that are going to be there, you can do that before you leave (home),” Stanisic described.

NEC has also equipped the 1450N, the high end of the three printers in the SuperScript 1400 series, to be networked-ready. A network interface card can be purchased as an add-on to the regular 1450, while the entry-level 1400 is a non-networked printer.

Stanisic said he does not expect LAN users to forego wiring the 1450 printers in favour of printing off the Internet.

“If it’s slower than having it hooked on the network then I don’t think it’s going to be too appealing to the users,” he explained.

Stanisic added the most significant feature of the SuperScript 1400 series could be the small to medium-sized market it is aiming for with its 12 pages-per-minute(ppm) capability.

“It’s priced pretty competitively for the 11-12 ppm laser monochrome market,” he said. “For NEC it’s good. It’s a tiny slice of the laser monochrome market, but it’s also a place where (Hewlett Packard) isn’t right now. They don’t have a 12ppm printer.”

NEC said each of the 1400, 1450, and 1450N offer 1200-dpi resolution, both IEEE 1284 parallel and USB serial ports, and come standard with a 66MHz RISC processor.

Pricing for the three units ranges from $499 to $1,015. The series is currently available in Canada. For details, visit