Lexmark has announced the launch of its 2009 all-in-one inkjet range aimed at small to medium businesses, with eight new models available in the U.S. from September 1st, three of which will be web-connected touch screen printers. The new all-in-ones will also be the first to feature wireless connectivity as standard across the entire range.
Details of performance and specification have yet to be released, although Lexmark has given details of a number of "soft" features it obviously hopes will tempt buyers. The new printers will allow group faxing and scan to e-mail templates, plus other, unspecified features designed to customise workflow and create shortcuts. It will also be possible to scan ID cards and print both sides on a single sheet of paper or scan in a business card and upload the contact information to a commonly used address book application, such as Microsoft Outlook. The new Eco Mode setting automates double-sided printing, faxing and copying at the touch of a button to save paper and energy.
What about the web features? Well, unlike HP, which uses a series of downloadable apps from the likes of Google to connect its printer to the web, Lexmark's printers will provide direct access to RSS feeds. These can viewed on the printer's 4.3in touch screen or e-mailed from the printer to PC.
Prices will range from $199 to $399 when the printers are launched in the U.S., although there is currently no word on U.K. launch or pricing. Lexmark have left many questions unanswered and the lack of any detailed information doesn’t exactly fill us with confidence. The biggest question Lexmark needs to answer, though, is "Why?". Printer manufacturers seem to be obsessed with solving problems or fulfilling needs that don't exist. HP believes that we’re desperate to print maps, calendars, Sudoku puzzles and colouring pages without going through the browsers on our PCs and now Lexmark thinks we need access to the news headlines while we're stood at the printer. There are so many RSS readers available it seems incredible that Lexmark thinks anyone will bother using a printer to keep up to date with their feeds.
Consumers want printers that are cost effective to buy and run, reliable, good quality and easy to use. In the current economic climate it’s hard to imagine anyone paying extra for a printer which offers functionality they can already get through their PC.
by Anthony Morgan