Lexmark has joined Hewlett-Packard and Epson in encouraging business to adopt colour in its office printers.
Paul Curlander, Lexmark CEO, said colour printing in routine business practice would increase massively over the next few years. "Where we see only 0.01% of office printing in colour now, in five years this will increase to maybe 5%. There are more and more applications requiring colour. Marketing presentations, graphs and charts are all more effective in colour, even for internal purposes."
Angele Boyd, vice president for peripherals research with IDC, said that the move towards colour was being driven by external forces. "Because of the material available on the Internet, and digital cameras, people are using more colour. Manufacturers recognise that this is the next wave.
So much of the world is colour it makes sense for businesses to take advantage of it.
The barriers to using colour, such as speed and price, are coming down."
Financial savings could even be possible with the implementation of colour, according to Boyd.
She said that by printing invoices in colour, recipients could understand them more easily, leading to a dramatic reduction in the number of queries businesses need to answer.
However, Curlander was more reluctant to endorse emerging technology surrounding printer connectivity.
He said that although the company was considering wireless connectivity technology such as Blue Tooth, a project headed by IBM, he did not see implementation in the near future. "We will introduce this kind of technology when we see the user demand for it. Like USB it will be in future products but not at the moment."
Curlander admitted Lexmark had been too early with the introduction of infrared wireless communication in its printers: "The market was not ready for it."
He said the company was not considering adopting the Jini project, a Java-based peripherals standard launched by Sun. "We believe we can run the (printing process) faster using our own (proprietory) system rather than running another product on top of it."
- Lexmark has launched a printer which allows reproduction of pictures from digital cameras without the need for a PC.
Aimed at an "emerging market" of digital camera owners, the Lexmark Photo Jetprinter 5770, boasts 1200x1200 dpi print-quality while offering compatibility with 10 leading digital camera manufacturers by directly accepting CompactFlash and SmartMedia memory cards.
The Photo Jetprinter 5770 can also work as a conventional printer connected to a PC and print multiple pages onto a single sheet of paper.
Pricing will be announced as the Photo Jetprinter 5770 ships in the UK early next year.
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