HP Introduces its First Page-Wide Desktop Inkjet Product

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Oct 30, 2012

On October 30th, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced the upcoming availability of its first desktop page-wide inkjet devices–the HP Officejet Pro X series–as well as a new line of laser workflow multifunctional peripherals (MFPs) and associated solutions. All of the products are targeted toward the business market. From a hardware and supplies perspective, we believe the development in page-wide technology (officially known as HP’s “PageWide Technology”) has the most potential to create disruption within this market. The office market has traditionally been dominated by laser-based technology, but the introduction of page-wide inkjet devices with robust speed, print quality, and paper handling capabilities from a market leader like HP could really change how customers view inkjet technology.

HP Officejet Pro X series

In February, HP plans to launch four HP Officejet Pro X devices: two single function printers–the HP Officejet Pro X451dn and the HP Officejet Pro X551dw–and two multi-functional 4-in-1 (print/copy/scan/fax) models–the HP Officejet Pro X476dn and the HP Officejet Pro X576dw. The devices will be available worldwide but timing will vary by region. In the U.S., channels will include select retailers and commercial channel partners. In addition, HP will have two retail stockkeeping units (SKUs) in North America–the HP Officejet Pro X451dw and the HP Officejet Pro X476dw.

With speeds up to 70 ppm (X500) and 55 ppm (X400) in general office mode and speeds up to 42 ppm (X500) and 36 ppm (X400) in professional mode, the new HP Officejet Pro X series gains its speed advantage through the page-wide array, which is also referred to as the “print bar.” The 8.8” monolithic print bar is rated to last the life of the printer and is based on HP’s Scalable Printing Technology, a photolithographic process for developing thermal inkjet printheads that is used in HP’s production-level devices, including their Inkjet Web Press.

With the launch of the HP Officejet Pro X series, HP is offering an office page-wide desktop inkjet product for the first time. According to HP, their PageWide Technology offers users the performance traditionally associated with lasers with the vivid color of HP pigment inks and best-in-class price for performance, while outperforming low- and mid-range color laser printers in cost, speed, and energy efficiency. Another advantage, HP says, is that the printheads are designed to last the lifetime of the printer. Nevertheless, it is also clear these products do not offer the same solutions capability as HP’s laser devices, which may impact the customer’s willingness to integrate the device into specific workflow environments. Sales channels for the HP Officejet Pro X will include all of HP’s traditional commercial channels, including direct, indirect/dealer, resale, and contractual. HP is targeting the new HP Officejet X Pro series at unmanaged small businesses with 5-49 employees as well as managed small and medium-sized businesses.

The supplies in the new printers use pigment inks based on new formulations that are different from its HP Officejet Pro 8600 counterparts. According to HP, new inks were required in order to obtain the necessary level of quality, media interaction, and reliability while keeping the print nozzles healthy. Another requirement for HP was the ability to perform at high speeds and produce quality/usable documents that are dry. Additionally, the new inks needed to be fast-drying, long-lasting, and highlighter-resistant.

HP’s New Print Bar and Supplies Configuration

HP expects its competition to be laser devices in the same class, including some of its own products. The biggest advantage over four-pass laser devices, according to HP, is the speed afforded by the page-wide array. Some customers, however, may prefer mid-market laser devices for their finishing and stapling options, document management capabilities, as well as higher automatic document feeder capabilities. We also expect competition to come from other page-wide inkjet products, including office products based on Memjet technology as well as Xerox solid ink printers and MFPs.

While consumer inkjet printing is on the decline in terms of new product acquisitions and page volume, HP has seen double-digit growth in sales of business inkjet products over the last two fiscal years, and is expecting double-digital growth in this segment for fiscal year 2013. HP estimates that one-third of their inkjet pages are printed in the office; most expect this number to grow. With the flurry of fall announcements, HP will be well-positioned to offer customers products from inkjet and laser technologies. We also believe that HP’s new page-wide inkjet desktop devices–as well as page-wide array technology from other inkjet vendors–can help eliminate many of the negative perceptions that people have about inkjet technology. It is important for vendors, however, to position their products in a way that directly responds to commonly held perceptions of inkjet technology across regions.

To help with this effort, InfoTrends has begun a new study to determine the current barriers to inkjet printing in the office, as well as the product features that both business inkjet users and non-business inkjet users value most (and least) in their print equipment. This research spans 15 countries in multiple regions (North America; Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia Pacific) to determine how perceptions vary by market. Other aspects of this study include a worldwide forecast for the business inkjet market, segmentation of the business inkjet market across all forms of ink-based devices, and interviews with channel partners in various regions on business inkjet technology.

For more information about this study, please contact Scott Phinney at scott.phinney@infotrends.com or visit Is Inkjet Printing Technology Ready to Transform the Office Printing Environment?

For more detailed coverage of HP’s announcement, please refer to InfoTrends’ analysis report, HP’s Game Changer: New Ink PageWide Technology.

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