Lexmark looks to SMB

Targeted to the distributed-printing enterprise and the small- to medium-business (SMB) space, Lexmark Canada Inc. recently released the Lexmark T420d monochrome laser printer.

The Richmond Hill, Ont.-based company said the product’s 200MHz processor operates at 22 pages per minute, supports a duty cycle of 50,000 pages per month and is suitable for small workgroups. Other features include standard duplex (two-sided) printing, 600 x 600 dpi (1200 image quality) and approximately 10 seconds to first print. The Lexmark T420dn, another model, comes network-ready, Lexmark said, a growing requirement for the SMB space.

According to Andrew Kiss, product manager, Printing Solutions and Services division at Lexmark, the business-class printer is targeted at the niche area the company has termed “SMB Canada.” The offering, Kiss explained, is also ideal for enterprises with limited space – offices that desire core printing functionality, strong performance and a low price point.

“There is typically an inverse relationship between acquisition price and cost per page. This printer is actually sitting below the normal line. It’s really addressing the need to have a strong total cost of ownership yet still deliver,” Kiss said.

The trade-off occurs in the absence of modularity. Kiss noted that unlike the others in the T series, the “small-footprint” printer hasn’t been engineered with multi-function device capability. That’s not to say the SMB printing needs are static, Kiss said, adding “the T420d is more designed to address the needs and issues today, versus the potential needs tomorrow.”

But for the average small business the functionality coupled with an aggressive price point trumps the printer’s lack of scalability, said Frank Albanese. The senior analyst for Toronto-based research firm IDC Canada Ltd. said much like printer vendors Hewlett-Packard Co. and Brother Canada, Lexmark is obviously looking at the burgeoning SOHO (small office, home office) or SMB market.

“The competition is heating up,” Albanese said. For a monochrome laser printer in this price range, Albanese said the T420d seems surprisingly fast and features enterprise-class performance to boot.

Widespread Web access is also creating a requirement for network-ready printers. Network functionality is becoming more and more a need for SMBs and should soon become standard on more printers geared for this space, Albanese said.

“Whether you’re in SOHO or the enterprise, connectivity will become a requirement,” he added

Available now, pricing for the Lexmark T420d monochrome laser printer starts at $1,079. The network-ready version of the product is $1,749. Lexmark Canada Inc. can be found at www.lexmark.com/Canada.