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Lexmark makes wireless printing affordable

New range will be "best performing and looking"

Lexmark is launching a new range of printers in the UK, with a new selection of wireless printers the pick of the bunch.

The company previewed the products at its Global Press Event in Kentucky, with Jeff Willard, vice president and general manager at Lexmark, and Jeff Meredith, director of product marketing, claiming the company’s new range will help consumers increase productivity.

The Lexmark execs said there’s been a surge in the number of homes with an all-in-one printer in recent years, largely due to increased affordability. Lexmark sees itself as central in driving this growth, having introduced the sub-$100 colour inkjet in the US in 1997 and sub-$200 all-in-one in 2001.

But wireless networking is expected to be one of the top drivers of productivity over the next five years, according to results of Lexmark’s 2007 Wireless and Printing survey. The company said printing has evolved, but wireless printers have previously been too expensive and complicated. In 2007, however, Lexmark predicts this will change.

“Wireless is the next big thing in inkjet printing and we will be providing easy-to-use and affordable wireless printers,” said Willard. “Lexmark will drive the explosive growth in the printing category and give customers access to something they previously couldn’t afford.”

Meredith admitted that Lexmark had not delivered many compelling products in the past few years but with its new 2007 inkjet product line the company is broadly implementing wireless as a key selling point. Lexmark will focus on value, speed, quality, ease-of-use and consistency in the new series, which it feels is “the best performing and looking product range it has ever launched”.

Many of the new products will feature wireless capabilities - some of these by way of optional wireless cards - and photo card slots. Some will also provide two-sided printing. Lexmark’s long-lasting Ever Colour 2 ink will also expand broadly into the 2007 product line for more durable prints with resilient colour.

Below is an overview of some of the new products in the range to be released in the UK this spring.

Z1320

This entry-level printer offers 22 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white and 16ppm in colour and borderless 4x6 photo printing for £39.99.

Z1420

Said to be the most affordable wireless printer on the market at £59.99, the Z1420 boasts speeds of 24ppm black and white and 10ppm colour printing, Lexmark sees this as being disruptive as these offerings were previously only available in high-end printers.

X2500

This aims to be the fastest all-in-one in its class, producing 22ppm in black and white and 16 ppm in colour for just £49.99.

X4550

Costing £99.99, the X4550 is an affordable wireless all-in-one printer that can print up to 26 ppm black and 16 ppm colour. It also offers direct photo printing from Memory Cards, USB drive or with PictBridge.

When asked why Lexmark had chosen not to integrate touchscreen capabilities into the new inkjet range Meredith said: “Touchscreens feature in the laser side of our products. We tested a multitude of features in 2007 and touchscreen didn’t make the cut as one of the problems with that type of technology is that it is difficult to make the display large enough. Perhaps this will be a challenge for other manufacturers.”

Meredith said that with the new range, Lexmark will be concentrating on affordability but also high performance. “All entry-level printers will offer black and white print speeds of at least 20ppm but later in the year we will also announce models reaching speeds of 30 ppm.”

Netgear also presented at Lexmark’s press event, discussing its vision of the connected home. We spoke to Vivek Pathela, vice president of product marketing at Netgear. He said: “Lexmark is rolling out a sleek and trendy line of wireless printers with great quality that elevates their brand image in the market. At those attractive prices, there's no reason now not to buy a wireless printer from Lexmark. We are tremendously excited to partner with them in offering a comprehensive solution of home networks with ease of sharing printers that may be placed anywhere in the house.”


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