Lexmark intros networked printers

Businesses of every size were the targets of a series of recent announcements made by Lexmark Canada Inc., which introduced four new printers in its Optra family of products last month, as well as an addition to its OptraImage series.

In an attempt to become more competitive, the company also announced lower pricing for the colour, monochrome, and multifunction printers.

For the small- to medium-sized business segment of the market, Lexmark unveiled the Optra E312 personal laser printer, as well as the Optra M412 workgroup laser. The E312 is a 10 page-per-minute (ppm) monochrome printer with USB and PostScript standard, and offers PostScript Level 2 capabilities for graphics printing.

According to Andrew Kiss, product manager in the business printer division of Lexmark, the E312 printer has network connectivity via an external adapter and is compatible with Windows, MAC, Unix, Dos and OS/2 platforms.

The E312, which is ideal for a workplace with one to three employees, is available for “the estimated street price of $599, Kiss said.

The Optra M412, which is complementing the M410 product, is ideal for a slightly larger work environment of about three to 10 employees, Kiss said. This printer also has USB standard, as well as 10/100Base-TX standard. The 17 ppm monochrome printer also has an internal solutions port for Ethernet, token-ring, local talk, and others. MAC and Windows drivers ship with the product, which is available for $1,199.

For larger environments of 10 to 20 employees, Lexmark introduced the Optra T614, a monochrome network laser printer with 25 ppm capability, available for approximately $2,249.

The OptraImage T614 multifunction solution was also introduced, which enables printing, scanning, faxing and copying all to be done from a single device, according to Kiss, which he said allows companies to save money. The estimated price of the OptraImage T614 is $7,449.

Finally, the Optra C710 was unveiled. The 16 ppm monochrome and 3 ppm color printer ships with Lexmark’s management tools, including NetPnP and MarkVision, which facilitate installations and management on the network, according to the company. The C710 series also uses Lexmark’s ImageQuick SIMM technology, which can print colour images such as PDF, TIFF and HTML and other file formats through dragging and dropping. It can also pull Internet or intranet pages from the printer operator panel. The C710 is compatible with PostScript 3, PCL 6 and PCL 5C, and is compliant with Windows 3.1x, 95, 98, 2000, NT, MAC OS, OS/2 and Unix platforms. The C710 is available for approximately $2,999, while the C710n is $3,399, and the C710dn is $5,159.

The new technologies included in the products reflect the growing needs of customers, according to Kiss.

“The printing landscape is changing very fast,” he said. “The documents we’re printing are no longer just text.”

He also said Lexmark is finding that more of the small- and medium-sized business organizations are networked than before.

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has been a Lexmark customer for about three years, according to Nancy Vigus, the manager of business services for CAA’s central Ontario Information services division.

The Association is on three different platforms — Unix, Novell IPX as well as Windows NT. CAA Central Ontario uses over 140 printers, and a minimum of two monochrome printers per branch are used for receipts and reports, Vigus said.

The Association leases its equipment to keep up with changing technologies, and every three years it reviews and replaces the technologies it uses. Vigus said the CAA is testing one of Lexmark’s monochrome laser W810 series right now, and will probably install it next spring.

The OptraImage series is most appealing to the CAA, and Vigus said the passcode options and scanning capabilities are definite benefits.

The CAA will probably upgrade the 310s they are now using to the 312s, Vigus said, adding that the current component in its branches are the 1650s and 2450s, which will most likely be replaced with some of the newly released printers.

Implementing the printers “has been incredibly easy across all the platforms. MarkVision, from the Unix level is extremely easy to use, parameter driven…makes it very simple for us to set up these Unix queues. From a Windows perspective, also very easy to use and manage them remotely,” she said.

Lexmark is at www.lexmark.com.