This Week in Imaging: Race to the Bottom for Ink Pricing?

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

We’re in the midst of testing the MFC-J6925dw, one of Brother’s new INKvestment business-class color inkjet line, and this “true” A3 inkjet All-in-One is chock-full of innovation. Better yet, it lives up to its INKvestment tag with its 1.2¢/5.0¢ black/color ISO Cost per Page – the lowest we have seen from any non CISS-equipped desktop printer to date. Be sure to visit our newly redesigned Web site for the release of a Hands-On Test Report later next week. In the meantime, you can take a look at the Unboxing & Setup video.

Speaking of Brother and the cost of ink, there was interesting news on that front this week with the announcement that Brother is going the bottled-ink route – at least in India. From the looks of it, rather than go the CISS (continuous ink supply system) route, Brother has simply substituted the replaceable cartridges with a tank unit with flip-tops that open up for filling.

In case you haven’t noticed, the newly announced Brother printers are part of an ongoing race to the bottom when it comes to ink prices. It’s not happening in North America, presumably because we’re addicted to overpaying for “lasers” and obviously must have the riches to pay top dollar for ink. Consequently, the race to the lowest ink prices is happening in regions such as South America and Southeast Asia. In these cost-conscious markets, Epson started the race with the introduction of its L-Series of tank-equipped CISS printers and has followed them up with new models plus a new high-end line equipped with bags of ink (Epson brought these “RIPs” copier MFPs to the United States earlier this year – see our story here).

Hewlett-Packard has also responded in select regions with its Ink Advantage line that’s essentially existing models with more ink in existing cartridge designs, with cartridges costing considerably less. Indeed, an HP inkjet model that retails in the United States for $35 has ink cartridges that hold 190/165 pages worth of black/color ink and has an ISO color Cost per Page of 21¢+. In contrast, its Ink Advantage counterpart costs $89 in Singapore, has cartridges that hold 1,500/700 pages worth of black/color ink, and its ISO color Cost per Page is only 1.6¢! Needless to say, the $64 premium for the purchase of the printer in Singapore will be quickly made up with savings on ink. In this case, we’re talking 330 color pages, or before the Ink Advantage printer’s pack-in ink cartridges are even depleted.

That said, we hope that Brother, Epson, and HP will bring these innovations to U.S. shores and finally put an end to the tiresome “give them the razor, then sell them the blades” printer-sales model.

Feature Stories

  • Samsung Submits 3D-Printing Patent Application Specifying Use of Multi-Color ‘Inks’ – Read more here.
  • Brother Launches Color Inkjet All-in-Ones with Refillable Ink Tanks in India – Read more here.

Office-Imaging News

  • New A4 Kyocera MFPs Said to Bring Office-MFP Feature Set to the Desktop – Read more here.
  • New Kyocera ECOSYS Desktop Color Printers Start at $1,569 – Read more here.
  • Square 9’s SmartSearch Document-Scanning and Management Solution Now Available for OKI Smart MFPs – Read more here.
  • Ricoh is First Company to Have Copier MFPs EPEAT-Registered in India – Read more here.
  • 10 Toshiba e-STUDIO Copier MFPs Achieve EPEAT Gold Rating for Eco-Friendliness – Read more here.

Production- and Commercial-Printing News

  • Canon U.K. Reports Robust Shipments of imagePRESS C800 Series in Europe – Read more here.

Other News

  • HP to Pay $100 Million to Settle Autonomy Shareholder Lawsuit – Read more here.

3D-Printing News

  • Konica Minolta Partners with STEAMtrax for 3D-Printing Curriculum – Read more here.

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