HP is planning to radically change the way it offers inkjet cartridges for its consumer line of printers.
The company will drop the conventional 'one-size-fits-all' system and offer two sizes of cartridge for each printer model.
The new initiative replaces the current cartridges with a smaller 'standard' cartridge and a larger 'XL' model. The XL is 30 to 45 per cent cheaper than the standard model on a cost per page basis.
The cartridges will be interchangeable, allowing users who print large amounts of text-only documents, such as students, to use an XL black cartridge and a standard colour cartridge in the same printer.
Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president of HP's Supplies, Imaging And Printing group, told vnunet.com that the move aims to bridge the gap between light and heavy users.
Light users, explained Jotwani, use their printers only once or twice a week and are more concerned with the cost of each cartridge than with the number of pages that a cartridge yields. More frequent users focus on the number of pages per cartridge.
The previous system compromised between heavy and light users. HP hopes that its new move will appease both groups.
HP has been rolling out the new cartridges since February, but has only just officially committed to moving its entire inkjet line to the new system.
"We are fundamentally revamping our inkjet cartridge portfolio in a way that provides more choice and much greater value, and simplifies the shopping experience for our customers," Jotwani declared.
HP is also hoping to simplify the process of buying new cartridges. Each of the new models will be listed as a two-digit number that will be printed on the box of its corresponding printer.
The various cartridges with also be colour-coded. Standard cartridges will be sold in blue boxes, XL cartridges in green boxes, and high-performance digital photo inks in red boxes.
Changing the way that inkjet cartridges are packaged and sold is a gamble, admits Jotwani, who called the campaign "a fairly momentous communications challenge".
"We have been in the business for 20-plus years where we did one cartridge. This is a pretty fundamental change that we want to declare."
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