Hewlett Packard (HP) chose the TechXNY trade show in New York to unveil a major overhaul of its key printer business, revamping its entire line of consumer printers.
The new line of printers is part of the company's attempt to drive the potentially lucrative market for printing digital photographs, as well as to counter growing competition from rivals such as Lexmark and Canon.
HP is set to introduce 50 new imaging and printing products between now and early 2003, including three consumer printers announced yesterday.
The company's consumer printer line has a significant role in the its balance sheet. Consumer ink jet printers generate about $8bn in annual revenues for HP, while its imaging and printing business, which accounts for about $20bn in revenues, is the company's only profitable unit.
Launching the revamp, HP said that it had invested $1.2bn over the past three years in developing the new machines, comprising $900m in manufacturing, $125m in research and development, and $200m in marketing.
The result is a new line of printers using a common technology and similar software.
This makes them 20 per cent cheaper to manufacture, helping to boost HP's gross margins on the new printers, according to Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group.
Targeting the growing digital photography market, the new printers will be capable of automatically tweaking photo images and detecting when the right paper is chosen. They will also print directly from camera memory cards.
As the first instalment HP announced three new colour inkjet devices at the bottom-end of the range. These include a Deskjet 5550 priced at $149, a Deskjet 3820 priced at $99 and a cheaper Deskjet 3420, which will sell for $79 in the US.
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