HP has unveiled a new line of printers and services that will drive its Print 2.0 campaign.
Print 2.0 was announced in May as an way to link HP's traditional printer offerings with web 2.0 services and network applications, and to push into commercial printing.
HP also announced a new service designed to integrate printing into web 2.0 services such as blogs and online photo albums. Users will be able to order custom prints and bound books from online photo archives, for example.
HP has also upped its multi-function offerings for small and medium businesses, rolling out a laser jet printer with beefed-up networking capabilities.
The company is attempting to present the printer as an IT network device, according to Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett. "HP is saying that printers are a neglected IT resource," he said.
The analyst told vnunet.com that HP's new strategy could help redefine printers as active components in managing such things as document security and standards compliance, rather than simply a method to put content on paper.
The common thread between the consumer and SMB strategies is what Gillett calls a switch from 'analogue' printing, where customers simply print out finished products, to 'digital' printing, where the printer becomes part of the creative process.
"HP is thinking broadly about how to improve the experience with printer customers and how to bring in new customers," he said.
The new campaign is driven, in part, by a sputtering printer market for HP. Gillett noted that HP's printing branch grew by a meagre 10 per cent in the past quarter.
"The pitch today was that even though HP is strong as a 'printer' vendor, it is not as strong as a 'printing' vendor," he said.
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