This Week in Imaging: More Printers with Ink Tanks; Kudos to Xerox Mobile-Printing; Ricoh, Sharp Financials

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Kudos to Xerox for its new mobile-printing solutions it introduced this week, which will especially be welcomed by the many Xerox customers who’ve invested heavily in Xerox MFPs and printers, and means these customers don’t have to go elsewhere for ad hoc solutions and hardware from other vendors to enable mobile printing. And what’s nice for customers with both Xerox and non-Xerox devices is that several solutions work with both Xerox and non-Xerox devices.

This week, more financial earnings came in, this week from Ricoh, Sharp, and Epson. The good news for this Japanese vendors is that the weaker Japanese yen helps make their products more price-competitive overseas, boosting sales revenues. The bad news is that the slowdown in China affects them as it does virtually every other global vendor, and of course, Sharp continues to struggle with its LCD division.

This week in India, Canon announced a new series of PIXMA printers with refillable ink tanks, joining the other SOHO/SMB inkjet printer manufacturers that already feature inkjet printers equipped with ink tanks, Epson and Brother. The only other major inkjet printer manufacturer that doesn’t offer ink-tank printers also happens to be the gorilla in the room, Hewlett-Packard. Interestingly, we had a chance to test HP’s response to ink tank/CISS printers, the cartridge-based Deskjet Ink Advantage series (2020hc, 2545, 3545) that are not however available in North America. What’s especially interesting about the Deskjet Ink Advantage series is its low, low cost of ink.

Take the Deskjet Ink Advantage 2020hc printer for example. This A4 color inkjet printer is available in non English-speaking countries for ~$89.00 and comes replete with a USB cable (whereas  HP U.S. printers generally don’t). Yet we found that in spite of its basic feature set, print-quality samples were competitive with that of most other desktop inkjet printers and All-in-Ones that we’ve tested. While it’s a printer only, there are also Deskjet Ink Advantage All-in-Ones and e-All-in-Ones available.

On the downside, its tri-color ink cartridge can be an inconvenience once a color is depleted. However, the cost of ink cartridges are astonishingly low, as is its Cost per Page. The 2020hc uses an HP 46 Black cartridge that costs $7.50 and yields an amazing 1,500 ISO pages (0.05¢)! The HP 46 Tri-Color cartridge also costs $7.50 and yields  700 ISO pages (1.1¢)! This translates into an ISO color Cost per Page of just 1.6¢. Compare this to its North American counterpart, the Deskjet 1010 with its 20¢+ color cost per page and the smaller ink yields of its HP 61 ink cartridges (480/165 black/color ISO pages).

If you print low volumes and are able to purchase one of the Deskjet Ink Advantage printers and supply it with genuine HP ink, we recommend that you invest in one ASAP. Moreover, since ink is so inexpensive, there’s no reason to gamble with third-party ink cartridges, refill your cartridges with ink of unknown quality, or install a dubious and messy CISS conversion kit. A big question remains however – will HP release the Deskjet Ink Advantage series in North America?

All printers should be priced like the Deskjet Ink Advantage series – not as expensive as a CISS-equipped printer and somewhat more than a comparable more fully features HP Officejet printer. Never mind the tired old “give ’em the razor, then sell them the blades” business model that users continue to endure in North America. In fact, we applaud Epson for publicly stating that it wishes to kill this business model. That said, we’re confident enough to state that at this point in time we believe that consumers worldwide (even in the United States) would gladly pay more for the printer up front and less for ink afterwards.

This brings us back to printers with ink tanks. A few years back, we tested a range of CISS kits and printers.  We found that the CISS kits were a disaster, but the first generation of Epson L Series printers with Epson factory-installed CISS ink tank systems performed in a workman-like manner. In fact, Epson has subsequently launched a series of new printers that are equipped with ink tanks or massive bags of ink.

Office-Imaging News

Worldwide Mobile-Printing Market to Grow at CAGR of 32.5 Percent – Read more here.

Five Intriguing New Xerox Mobile-Printing Solutions for Xerox, Non-Xerox, Legacy Printers and MFPs – Read more here.

Xerox Expands Supplies Rewards Program to Include Non-Xerox Printers, Copier/MFPs – Read more here.

Newly Created HP Inc. to Focus on Immersive Computing, 3D Printing, Graphic-Arts Printing, Copier/MFPs – Read more here.

Canon Shows First Inkjet Printers with Refillable Ink Tanks, the Pixma G Series – Read more here.

Canon and HP Inkjet MFPs Rank Highest for Customer Satisfaction in J.D. Power Survey – Read more here.

Financial News

Modest Gains for Ricoh’s Latest Quarter Aided by Digital-Imaging Sales, Weaker Yen – Read more here.

Loss for Sharp’s Second Half, but Business Solutions’ Sales Up 3.8 Percent – Read more here.

Earnings Dip for Epson’s Second Quarter, but High-Capacity Ink-Tank Printers Show Strong Growth – Read more here.

Commercial-, Specialty- and Production-Printing News

Navitas Leasing to Provide Financing for OKI Production and Specialty Printing Systems – Read more here.

Canon Launches ‘Fastest’ 42″ Wide Wide-Format Color Printers Currently on the Market – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

Canon Sues North Carolina Office-Equipment Dealer, Seeks Over $2.2 Million in Damages – Read more here.

Partnerships and Acquisitions

eReplacements to Market Remanufactured Ink Cartridges Under Kodak Brand Name – Read more here.

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October 2015

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