by Robert Palmer | 3/19/15

On March 10 at a press and analyst event in New York City, HP unveiled its latest laser printers aimed at SMBs and small workgroups. The one-day event began with a press conference led by Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president of HP’s LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions business, followed by a hands-on product showcase featuring HP’s newest technology. 

The showcase allowed time for in-depth review of the new machines and provided attendees with direct access to many of the engineers and product managers behind HP’s latest products. Attending this event brought back fond memories of the good old days in the printing market, when hardware announcements used to matter.

Why would a launch showcasing four new printer/MFP models require such a lavish event with invitees from around the world? Simple. Underscoring the announcement of the products themselves is a significant re-engineering of HP’s laser printing technology, setting the stage for the firm’s next generation of laser-based printers and MFPs. According to HP, the announcement “represents our most significant laser printing re-engineering since the introduction of the first LaserJet in 1984.”

At the core of the announcement is new technology built into the latest toner cartridges, which HP is branding as JetIntelligence. While it is somewhat unusual for HP to actually fold the inner workings of its toner cartridges under an umbrella brand, the firm believes that the advancements in printing technology are significant enough to warrant the additional attention. “This is a big deal for us,” Jotwani explains. “We don’t always add in a brand, but JetIntelligence merits its own branding.”

HP introduced four models based on the JetIntelligence cartridge technology: three printers and one MFP. Each of the new models features a significantly smaller footprint compared with its predecessor, while delivering much faster speeds, lower energy consumption, and higher yields. The HP ColorLaserJet Pro M252 is a single-function printer that operates at 19 ppm. The Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277 series is based on the same engine as that used in the M252 but is marketed as the smallest laser MFP with the fastest duplex printing in its class.

For more on HP’s latest announcement, see the press release.

Given the importance of the technological achievements and the role JetIntelligence will play in HP’s long-term product strategy, it would seem that this announcement would garner significant attention. Yet, many pundits and industry analysts have downplayed the announcement. The general sentiment seems to be that the technology itself is interesting, but does any of this really matter to the customer—or to the market as a whole? Are customers really demanding products that are smaller, faster, and easier to use than those that are already available? These are fair questions, but they do not consider all of the central issues at play. We’ll explore these questions and dig deeper into the announcement in the April issue of The Imaging Channel. 

 

Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. In December 2012 he formed Palmer Consulting as an independent consultancy focused on transformation, mobility, MPS, and the entire imaging market. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.