NEC Technologies Inc, has added a 2.1GB internal hard drive to its new colour laser printer, the SuperScript 4600N, that gives it superior spooling capabilities including collation, job hold, job reprint and preview, said Lance Bailey, marketing/business development manager of NEC Technologies Canada.

The collation allows users to send a job to the printer only once. The job is stored on the hard drive and will automatically print and collate multiple copies, thereby eliminating the need to resend the job with each copy, reducing PC processing time.

But James Lundy, research director with Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said he does not think the 4600N offers customers much of anything new.

“[It’s] what we call a ‘mid-life’ kicker. They enhance it slightly to keep it competitive with other new offerings, but it’s not that uncommon where you’re going to see more and more, I guess, new models of basically the same product almost like what the automotive manufacturers are doing. It might not be a new engine, but what it’ll be is little changes here and there because they want to differentiate themselves against somebody like HP or Techtronics,” said Lundy.

Lundy said that NEC does not have the presence in the colour laser printer market that rivals HP and Xerox have, and is simply duplicating what those companies are already offering. However, Lundy did point out that NEC does make a quality product that is cheaper than their competition.

“They focus on one segment, let’s say, eight-page-per-minute printers and they compare what the other vendors have done and say, ‘Okay we’re going to outmanoeuvre HP, Lexmark and Xerox and come out with a better product at a cheaper price,'” he said.

Bailey said the 4600N is an important change in NEC’s development of laser colour printers and will replace the existing 4400N.