HP is shifting technology that is currently used for retail photo printing into the enterprise market.
The firm's Edgeline technology is used in Photosmart pm1000 Microlab printers, which can create up to 700 lab-quality, 4in x 6in prints per hour.
The system uses large, stationary print heads arranged in a line to dispense ink across the page as the paper passes beneath them.
Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), explained that each print head cartridge contains 10,500 nozzles.
"We will have the cost structure of a consumer product, with lots of print heads being made on the same wafer, but with the performance of a high-end printing system," he said.
Joshi claimed that there is no limit to the form factor and that the heads could be stacked to print any size.
"We can take these cartridges and tune them for multi-function printing in the high end so that you could achieve up to 71 pages per minute performance," he said.
"Edgeline technology will go into multiple markets, including retail photo finishing, enterprise high-end multifunction printing and the creative graphics market."
HP estimates the markets at US$7.7 billion for retail photo printing, US$9.8 billion for industrial printing and US$16.6 billion for colour office printing, offering a US$30 billion market opportunity by 2009.
However, Joshi denied that HP had arrived late in the multi-function printer market.
"We started just two years ago and we went from zero market share to 19 points with a very limited product line. With a full line-up we are going to gain even more share," he said.
HP is also introducing what it claims is the first desktop A3 printer. "We are also increasing our portfolio with an A3 version of the 4345, which is the world's first desktop A3 multi-function device," Joshi said.
Jan Reicher, vice president of HP IPG's Go To Market unit, added: "We are expanding A3 to the low end because that was something customers always asked for, and that was very much an EMEA driven request.
"With the price positioning of the product we are introducing something that is roughly half the price of comparable products in the market."
HP touts Edgeline for enterprises
By Matt Chapman on Oct 6, 2006 10:11AM