Printers try to brighten enterprise

Two big players in the printing game last month added extra depth to their lineups in the hope that it will lead to some colourful results in the enterprise market.

That depth comes in the form of new colour printers from both Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard, the former firm bolstering its laser roster, the latter its inkjet lineup. Lexmark additions included the C750 and C910 models. The C750 works at speeds of 20 pages per minute (ppm) in both colour and black and white, promises a maximum wait time for a first page of 20 seconds, and features 1,200 dots per inch (dpi) resolution. It comes in at an estimated price of $4,939.

The C910 offers up to 28 ppm in both colour and black and white and a maximum 15 seconds to print a first page. Its pricing starts at $6,499.

At a launch event at Lexmark Canada’s Richmond Hill, Ont. headquarters, Andrew Kiss, the firm’s product manager for its Printing Solutions and Services division, identified a number of reasons why Lexmark believes firms can’t afford not to use colour.

“(Customers’) attention span is grabbed (with colour), you capture the people’s imagination, you hold them, they read further on. Otherwise, if it’s just another black-and-white document, they may toss it away, put it to the side and not read it,” he said.

Kiss added that colour allows corporations to get their message out to prospective clients in a clearer way, and also increases brand recognition.

“Colour can increase sales up to 42 per cent. So if you’re not using colour, your competitor likely is, and they’re getting the benefit of that 42 per cent and you’re not, and that is why I would argue that organizations cannot afford not to use colour. They have to look at it in terms of an investment to their business versus a cost against their business.”

One organization that has weighed that difference is the Vancouver Canadians Class ‘A’ baseball team, a farm team of the Oakland Athletics. Through its use of both Lexmark and HP colour printers, the club has found the use of multiple hues to be invaluable in its efforts to communicate with sponsors and fans.

“Especially when we’re doing proof-of-performance (documents) for our sponsors…it’s much easier to be able to print out something in colour and give them a more vibrant, realistic shot of what they’re paying for,” said Jamie Brown, assistant general manager of the Canadians.

Pointing out that the team does not play in a big market and does not have a huge budget, Brown added that cost-benefit analyses are always a big part of decisions such as whether to be colourful or colourless.

“Is it easier to use a glue stick and glue a photo on a piece of paper when you’re making a presentation, or would you rather have something that is more dynamic and vibrant? I think that a lot of our sales brochures…we do outsource them and we do use colour.”

HP’s most recent foray into colour printing for the enterprise took the form of two inkjets: the cp 1160 (seven ppm in colour in normal mode, 16 ppm in draft mode; 2400×1200 dpi; four individual print heads and two individual ink cartridges; priced starting at $599) and the 2600 series (six ppm in colour in normal mode, 11 ppm in fast mode; 1200×600 dpi; priced starting at $1,399.)

Despite the benefits that colour printing does offer, International Data Corp. printer analyst Jennifer Thorwart said that the timing of these launches could be better for Lexmark and HP.

“[With] the economic state the way it is, it’s a hard sell to get people upgrading to colour, so I’m not sure if it’s well-timed, economic-wise, but I think it’s good for them to have these products in their lineup regardless,” Thorwart said from her Framingham, Mass. office.

She added that colour is an element that is important only in select departments of a company.

“I could see a marketing department needing colour, but for the everyday corporation, I’m not sure it’s such a good sell (on vendors’ parts) to say that it’s a necessity. I think people would like colour, and the cheaper colour gets, the easier a sell it’s going to be.”

All products are available now, save for the HP Business Inkjet Printer 2600, which is slated for release in March, 2002. Lexmark Canada is at, while HP Canada is at