After 30 years, HP brings inkjet printing to office MFP

HP ships OfficeJet Enterprise Color MFP X585, an inkjet printing MFP that is an alternative to laser counterparts

Hewlett-Packard shipped its first inkjet printer in 1984, but waited 30 years to release a multifunction inkjet printer for general office printing in enterprises.

The OfficeJet Enterprise Color MFP X585 will be a cheaper alternative to HP's laser printers such as LaserJet, which are widely used as a shared resource for office printing. HP has targeted inkjet printers at consumers, but the OfficeJet has new ink technology and provides larger output of 10,000 pages on a black cartridge and 6,600 pages on a color cartridge.

The multifunction printer is priced between US$1,999 and $2,799 and will ship in April. HP does provide DesignJet inkjet printers, which are mainly for specialty use and have wide-format page output to print engineering and design documents.

The new inkjet MFP is a cheaper, faster alternative version to the LaserJet printers, said Andrew Binder, general manager of enterprise ink for HP.

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"It's just a matter of making sure we had the right product. We've been doing [printers] for 30 years now, and our reputation in printing is attached to it, so we don't want to bring anything to the market that's not proven," Binder said.

The cost of printing a page, depending on the mode, can be up to $0.01 for black and white prints, and $0.05 for color pages. That makes the HP inkjet more economical than any of the company's laser printers, Binder said.

While the print-per-page is cheaper on the new inkjet printer, Binder said LaserJet is a preferred option for high-quality prints.

"Some people like the shine you get from a laser product. If you're creating external marketing documents ... you can use a laser product or use specialty paper on the [inkjet] products too," Binder said.

The MFP also has some new features not found on consumer inkjets. It uses a pigment-based ink, which does not have the smudging issues related to the dye-based ink used in consumer printers.

A new print engine helps generate 70 pages per minute, which is better output than consumer printers. The MFP also has an 8-inch tablet-like screen, while consumer inkjets have screen sizes up to 4.3 inches. Like the LaserJets, the MFP can connect to cloud services and an office's document workflow system.

Other features in the new OfficeJet include NFC (near field communication) and Wi-Fi Direct so mobile devices can establish direct connections to print documents.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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