HP adds copiers and digital pen to printer lineup

Hewlett-Packard hopes to duplicate its successes in the printer market with three combination copier and printer devices for...

Hewlett-Packard hopes to duplicate its successes in the printer market with three combination copier and printer devices for business customers.

The devices mark HP's entry into the copier market, building on its successful line of enterprise printers, with the introduction of the HP LaserJet 9055, 9065 and 9085, the company said at Comdex in Las Vegas.

HP is calling the devices "multifunction products", because they are based on copier technology but also allow users to print documents off a network, said Greg Wallace, vice-president of marketing for the commercial side of HP's printing and imaging group.

The 9055 and 9065 are designed for workgroup and departmental use. The 9055 can process 55 pages per minute, and costs $18,000 (£10,594), while the 9065 can print or copy 65 pages per minute for $25,000 (£14,743). Both prices reflect base configurations of the printers, which are available immediately.

The 9085 is more of a production-level printer for high-volume jobs or specialised documents. It can handle 85 pages per minute, and a base configuration costs $37,000 (£21,777). The 9085 will be available in March.

Customers who wish to purchase any of the printers will be required to sign a minimum two-year services contract. Those services can be supplied either directly through HP or through the company's service provider Ikon Office Solutions.

The printers are part of HP's overall strategy to help customers consolidate the number of printers on their networks and reduce their overall costs by improving the software that remotely manages their printers over the networks.

HP has also introduced technology designed to help businesses reduce the costs of form processing.

The HP Forms Automation System prints out a company's forms on special paper that allows information to be digitally captured when a customer fills out the form using a special digital pen. That information can than be uploaded directly to a database without the need for manual data entry.

The form is printed out onto standard copy paper using a special dithering technique which prints a special series of dots that resemble colours that can be read by the digital pen.

The software fills out the standard portions of the form already present in the database, such as the customer's name, address or telephone number. The customer then fills out the portions of the form unique to that transaction using the digital pen, which can read the information against the special background laid down by the printer.

Financial institutions, healthcare providers and insurance companies are expected to be the primary markets for the forms automation software.

For a 10,000-user deployment, the software costs $45,000 (£26,484), and each digital pen costs $200.

The forms automation software can be used only on select HP LaserJet printers.

Customers using the LaserJet 4600 can install the software, and HP will soon introduce the LaserJet 3500 and LaserJet 3700, which can also use the software.

The 3500 and 3700 will be available in the US in early next year.

In addition, HP released the next version of the company's printer management software, HP Web JetAdmin 7.5. The software links to HP's System Insight Manager server management software, and helps customers reduce helpdesk costs.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service



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