This Week in Imaging: HP Takes Printing from Offices, to Dorm Rooms, Factories, Car-Wrap Shops, and More
One thing that struck us this week in digital-imaging news was two announcements from HP Inc.: one introducing its tiniest LaserJet printers to date, the other announcing the expansion of its wide-format Latex printer series for commercial printers that are producing everything from indoor and outdoor signage to car wraps. While most of the news surrounding HP Inc. nowadays focuses on HP’s foray into copier/MFP market, both announcements show how the HP Printing and Imaging Group isn’t afraid to go into every major, as well as niche print market, potentially bringing its print technologies from everywhere to dorm rooms and kitchens, to factory floors, offices, design shops, and sign and package printers.
As for HP’s new Latex Series R printers announced this week, they’ll be able to print on rigid materials for producing items such as car wraps, wall coverings, canvas prints, outdoor and indoor signs, etc.
Meanwhile, HP’s new mini LaserJets – the LaserJet Pro M15 printer and M28 MFP – are about as tall as a No. 2. pencil and can fit into tiny spaces just about anywhere – from dorm rooms, to home kitchens, nurses’ stations, tiny offices that are part of the growing “gig economy,” and more. Both are black-and-white toner-based units using a single all-in-one toner cartridge, and as such, have the advantage of being much more portable, and can be much more easily moved around as needed than ink-jet based counterparts (inkjets, in contrast, potentially present the problem of ink leakage, especially those equipped with refillable ink tanks, and much more care is needed to move them). And, while we often discuss how easy inkjet-printer maintenance is, you can’t beat just having to replace a single all-in-one toner cartridge. They’re also a response to competitors such as Brother International, which lately has been pushing its monochrome low-end laser printers.
The point is, these new printers span both ends of a large HP printer spectrum – from home, to office copier/MFPs, to commercial printers, and PageWide production printers that take up half a room – and show how HP’s Printing and Imaging Group isn’t loathe to target opportunity wherever it sees it (witness the success of HP’s Sprocket portable photo printer – see HP CEO Dion Weisler: Strong Revenue Growth for MPS, Graphics Printers, Sprocket Mobile Printer in First Quarter.
It’s also interesting to note that, as also seen this week, while competitors such as Konica Minolta and Sharp continue to expand into enterprise IT services and management, Hewlett-Packard split off its IT products, solutions, and services into HP Enterprise, with the new HP Inc. focusing solely on printing and PCs, and since that split, HP Inc. has been reporting sustained revenue growth. Will it continue? Stay tuned.