HP, Tektronix carve new niches

Hewlett-Packard Co. and Tektronix Inc. today announced new printer lines aiming to carve out niches in the growing market for workgroup and departmental printers.

HP debuted a network printer that the company is positioning as an alternative to the photocopier. HP has dubbed its product a "mopier " a new category of network printers designed to produce multiple original prints or mopies. HP's LaserJet 5Si Mopier list price will be $9 549 and will be available late November on the General Services Administration's schedule through reseller Government Technology Services Inc. Chantilly Va.

Tektronix meanwhile took the wraps off its Phaser 600 the company's first color workgroup printer able to handle wide-format documents. The product which can work with paper up to 3 feet wide has a list price of $11 995 and will be available in January. The product will be carried on the GSA schedule by GTSI and agencies can place orders Dec. 2.

Angele Boyd peripherals analyst at International Data Corp. identified workgroup and departmental printing as a robust segment in an otherwise slowing market. The 1995 U.S. printer market saw growth in the high teens while 1996 growth is expected to be in the high single digits Boyd said.

HP's LaserJet 5Si Mopier allows users to make multiple original prints from their desk as opposed to printing a document on a laser printer then using a copier. The product has a 24 page-per-minute print engine can produce double-sided documents has a 3 100 sheet input capacity and includes a document-stapling feature. In addition the LaserJet 5Si Mopier includes a 420M hard drive for storing documents prior to printing. The drive is at the heart of HP's Transmit Once spooling technology designed to ease network congestion.

The LaserJet 5Si Mopier supports Novell Inc. NetWare Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and Windows 95 IBM Corp.'s LAN Server Unix and Apple Computer Inc.'s AppleTalk among other network operating systems.With its new product HP is targeting office environments that have networks in which people work in groups of 10 or 20 said Larry Tracy product line manager for HP's business LaserJet division. He said the product would be useful for organizations that handle contracts and proposals such as federal agencies. "Our sense is government agencies are still producing a tremendous about of paper."

"It could be a very appropriate device for [federal agencies] " Boyd agreed. "The only question is can they afford it?"

Boyd said that the market opportunity for the mopier given its price will be relatively small but added that the product addresses a growing trend. "As more and more documents are digital in nature the need to copy documents with an analog copier is beginning slowly and surely to decrease."

Wide-Format Printer

Tektronix's Phaser 600 is a wide-format solid-ink color printer that targets government agencies among other customers. The printer can print high-quality E-size (34-by-44 inch) documents in less than 25 minutes two times faster than the high-quality modes of competing products. The company's main wide-format rivals are HP with its DesignJet 755CM products and Encad Inc. with its NovaJet line.

Dave Tait a Tektronix product marketing manager said the Phaser 600 is geared toward federal agencies large enough to have an in-house print shop. He said likely government uses for the product include printing maps and presentations. In developing the product Tektronix visited a number of government sites including the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Bonneville Power Administration Portland Ore.Tektronix jointly developed the Phaser 600 with Mutoh Industries Ltd. a Japanese company. Mutoh which has expertise in wide-format mechanisms designed the product. Final assembly will take place in Phoenix.Marco Boer a consulting partner with IT Strategies said the wide-format color market should prove lucrative because of the amount of consumables used in wide-format printing. "There's definitely an opportunity here " he said. IT Strategies has consulted to Tektronix on its printer strategy.

Other recent printer announcements targeted forms and network printing:

* Kyocera Electronics Inc. late last month debuted FormCard a hardware/software product that allows multipart forms of up to nine parts to be recreated on a Kyocera laser printer. The company expects to sell the product through its GSA schedule pact.

* Xerox Corp. last month announced two new network laser printers the DocuPrint 4512 and the DocuPrint 4232. The DocuPrint 4512 is a 12 page-per-minute black-and-white model that has an estimated commercial price of $1 270. The network version of the product the 4512N is bundled with Ethernet networking capabilities and has an anticipated commercial price of $1 530. The DocuPrint 4232 has a list price of $13 495. The 4512 and 4512N will be available this month while the 4232 will be available in the first quarter of 1997.

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