This Week in Imaging: The Mobile-Printing Challenge; MPHJ Scan Patents Shot Down; More

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

One of our favorite characters on the program Mad Men, Pete Campbell, once remarked in frustration with the cyclical nature of capitalism: “I need a TV, I have a TV!” This applies to virtually everything, including printer/copier/MFPs, or, to put it another way, “I need a printer, I have a printer!”

Eventually, of course virtually everything in the universe breaks down, including electronic devices, ensuring that customers must purchase replacements. But that may take some time.

In the meantime, as more and more users give up the desktop PC for mobile-computing devices, many will eventually become frustrated that they can’t print to their existing legacy printers.

As obvious as that sounds, we’ve soldiered on with this issue simply because we’ve always had a bunch of printers to choose from and could eventually find a way to print from mobile devices – even if it was rather frustrating. It wasn’t until we upgraded our home printer to an HP Envy 5660 that it became easy to print from Android and Chrome OS via the on-board Google Cloud Print, and we could use HP ePrint for everything else, including iOS (because the Envy doesn’t support AirPrint). Plus, we have a highly capable Wi-Fi network to rely on, so we haven’t even attempted to use the built-in WiFi Direct Print that doesn’t even require that the printer be installed on a network.

This range of mobile-printing options will slowly pay off for HP (and others with broad mobile-printing support). It’ll probably not be as lucrative as the long-past heyday when everybody felt compelled to print virtually everything. However, users in developing countries still feel compelled to print virtually everything due to a host of cultural factors, but many customers are budget-limited. This means that an efficient worldwide distribution network for low-cost printers with broad mobile-printing support is a big plus today and for the future.

Further, everybody eventually needs to print something, whether it’s a greeting card, map. spreadsheet, or homework, and as mobile devices evolve to become more capable of content generation, more and more users will need to upgrade their printers with one that has on-board mobile printing. This bodes well for the vendors of SOHO printers where printers can be upgraded rather inexpensively (and increasingly feature ever-lower ink costs), but not so much for more-expensive, toner-based office printers and MFPs, as customers may not be willing to go for an expensive upgrade to get mobile printing. Consequently, lower-cost office printers with broad mobile-printing support and an efficient worldwide distribution network look to be key.

Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox appear to have come out big winners this week, with the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board knocking down eight MPHJ scan patents as unpatentable – generally meaning that the technology covered by the patents was already in use. For instance, Xerox’s attorneys successfully argued before the board that Xerox described the technology in a 1995 information manual for one of its imaging devices. Hewlett-Packard also has an ongoing petition filed with the U.S. Patent & Trade Office arguing the same – that it was already using the MPHJ patent technology in its imaging devices – but we’re still waiting on a decision for that case.

Feature Stories

  • Big Win for Lexmark, Ricoh, Xerox, as Patent Board Finds Eight of MPHJ’s Scan Patents Unpatentable – Read more here.
  • New Canon PIXMA Color Inkjets for Home Users Feature Faster Setup, Print from Instagram, New Ink Formulation – Read more here.

Office-Imaging News

  • Copier Careers: Average Copier Service Manager Salary is $84,161  – Read more here.
  • New Katun MPS Profit Calculator Cloud-Based Tool for Generating Profitable MPS Assessments – Read more here.
  • Asphalt at Lexmark Parking Lot is First in North America to Use Recycled Toner – Read more here.
  • Marco Continues Expansion with Crabtree’s Copier Sales and Service – Read more here.
  • Konica Minolta’s ‘Chameleon’ Enables Customers to Customize bizhub Touch Screens – Read more here.

KYOCERA MyPanel App Enables Users to Operate KYOCERA Printers and MFPs from their Mobile Devices – Read more here.

The Third Dimension


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3D-Printing on a Budget

 

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