Thursday, February 28, 2008

HP (NYSE HPQ) celebrates 20 years of Deskjet

HP (NYSE HPQ) is out with an intriguing release this morning, touting the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of the original HP Deskjet printer. The company is also using the occasion to announce two new Deskjet printers, the HP Deskjet D2500 Printer Series and HP Deskjet F4200 All-in-One Series. The announcement of the new printers includes elements that HP has been emphasizing lately, including Green-related benefits like low power consumption and cartridge recycling options, multiple sizes of cartridges for low-purchase-price and lower-cost-per-page preferences, and better printing from the Internet, as "all new HP Deskjet printers feature the HP Smart Web Printing tool for simple, predictable printing from the web." (See "Smart Web Printing reviewed in WSJ".)

Industry historians, too, will find the 20-year history of the Deskjet quite interesting. It's a timeline with much more detail than most similar pieces include. Must study!

Interesting too, despite the focus on the Deskjet, is the news focus on expanding to retail photo printing, an example being the AP story by Amanda Fehd, "HP Looks to Stores for Inkjet Expansion". There's a tone that home photo printing is in major decline, its golden age having passed some time ago. I'm not sure I'd be quite so harsh.
Five to seven years ago, the majority of digital photos were printed in the home, according to Federico De Silva, an analyst with Gartner. Now 60 percent are printed at retail outlets.
From AP's "HP Looks to Stores for Inkjet Expansion", 2/28/2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's new with printer and printing blogs?

I have three adds/deletes that are worth mentioning in the ever-dynamic ebb and flow of the printer and printing industry segment of the blogosphere (ok, I'm being a little sarcastic here).

First, the Planet Print Mode site and its companion blog, have been suspended in favor of a new enterprise by their creator, Adam Dewitz. Having completed graduate work at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Adam has started his own company, Adaptive Publishing, in addition to serving as WhatTheyThink.com's chief blogger, serving as Managing Editor
of the Print CEO Blog.

Second, a comment on a recent post of mine ("Book scanners as a consumer Item?") by a reader and fellow blogger Samuel Driessen linked me over to his mid-February post about "Paperless Home" over at Infoarch. Samuel is with Oce' in The Netherlands and writes prolifically on information architecture "stuff" on his blog.

And last but not least, a newer blog has surfaced called, of all things, The Death of the Copier. Creator Greg Walters is just three posts in, but so far has coverage that includes interesting content and opinion on HP (NYSE HPQ) Edgeline technology, Managed Print Services, and paperless and green issues. I like the attitude, and thanks for the link! Keep it up, Greg!

And now time to update the old blogroll!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Major corporations helping small business


I've often commented on the printing and imaging industry's growing interest in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market. And this trend continues in 2008, along with a larger tech industry effort in the same direction.

Printing industry leader HP (NYSE HPQ) has just made available a free download of a new "ebook", "9 Steps To Outstanding Market Success". The new book looks very good -- and in the full disclosure department, I was at least a minor contributor to author Oliver Fritsch's "labor of love", as he refers to the project in his recent blog post.

Microsoft (NASDAQ MSFT) seems equally intrigued by the SMB market, and, for example, has an ebook of their own I've also just downloaded. Check out "Your Road Map to Success" in their Small Business Center.

And never one to be left behind, read about Google (NASDAQ GOOG) Apps, another topic I've covered often here, in a recent Jefferson Graham USAToday piece covering their relevance to small business. See "Google Apps can be a small firm's best friend". Probably won't find a link to this one at the MSFT site!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Personal monochrome laser printers

M. David Stone has another great round-up, this time on choices in personal monochrome laser printers, appearing the latest PC Magazine entitled "A Laser Printer of your Own". He touches on two HP (NYSE HPQ) offerings, including the HP LaserJet P1505 and HP LaserJet P1006, as well as the stylish Samsung ML-1630, and the low-cost-per-page Oki Printing Solutions B4400. David does his usual succinct yet thorough job at explaining just why users might consider a laser rather than an inkjet printer, based on quality and speed differences that generally still remain in this part of the market.

The products, based on recent prices, are in a fairly tight range at from $180 to $230, with speed and style the main variables. But things can happen fast in this part of the market...the HP LaserJet P1006 is now being offered by HPShopping.com at $99.99, and at NewEgg.com, also at a $99.99 "list", is also offering a $50 off coupon, good through 2/25, netting out the 17ppm price at a stunning $49.99! (Thanks Techbargains.com!)

And I must add...that "17ppm" brings back some memories. HP's first LaserJet to feature that spec was the HP LaserJet IIISi -- introduced in 1991 at a price of $5,495!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More from HP (NYSE HPQ) on Q1 printer business

Following their Q1FY08 earnings announcement and conference call yesterday, HP (NYSE HPQ) has released the transcript of the call, and as promised I'm providing the printer-related highlights.

From CFO Cathie Lesjak's prepared remarks:

Now drilling in on the performance by business segment. During the first quarter, Imaging and Printing had revenue of $7.3 billion, up 4% year-over-year. Excluding cameras, revenue was up 5%. Supplies revenue grew 6%, and commercial hardware revenue grew 7%, while consumer hardware revenue declined 5% year-over-year. Segment operating profit was $1.2 billion, or 15.7% of revenue, reflecting gross margin expansion and favorable product mix.

We continue to see solid momentum in our growth initiatives. Our graphic arts business grew in double digits, and color laser and multifunction printer units grew 14 and 23%, respectively. Commercial hardware units increased 13% and consumer hardware units declined 2%. We continue to focus on targeting unit growth in areas of high supplies consumption, but do believe that we had more unit opportunities than we realized in Q1. Going forward, we expect to at least maintain share in the mature inkjet market, and see additional opportunities for growth in targeted areas such as graphic arts and enterprise printing.

Within IPG, we are also focused on reducing the cost structure and have a number of ongoing initiatives to improve supply chain efficiency and lower product costs. At the same time, we will continue to invest for growth and profitability through our commitment to research and development, targeted share gains, growth in graphic arts, and expansion of our enterprise printing sales force.


And from the Q&A, with printer-related questions (three of the total thirteen questions), with questions as attributed and HP CEO Mark Hurd on the answers:

[Question]Richard Gardner - Citigroup - Analyst

Thank you very much. Mark and Cathie, the thing that struck me from a product perspective this quarter was that supplies revenue growth actually accelerated, despite the fact that you had a tougher year-over-year compare. It looked like you were actually a little bit better than seasonal norm for the quarter. I was wondering if you could give us a little bit of color around what is driving the strength in supplies revenue growth, and whether it was toner or ink, etcetera.

[Answer] Mark Hurd - Hewlett-Packard Company - Chairman, President, and CEO
I know no meaningful difference between toner and ink trends in the quarter. Again, we have the benefit of a large installed base. During the quarter, we shipped our 500 millionth printer. So when you look at this, the pure scale of the business and the size of the installed base, it's a big one. As you know, we've invested from a unit perspective into that base for a while.

Now, let me give you some further color. When you look at the camera and you look at the appliances -- and we were very cautious, as we mentioned in our previous call, about appliance placements, there's -- I'm giving you a full-year characterization here -- roughly 2 to 3 points I'd say of growth headwind -- I want to say it one more time -- growth headwind for IPG in rationalizing those two categories through the portfolio.

So again, I would ask you to take IPG in the context of a pretty radical transformation we're doing inside IPG. We're working on a lot of cost that we're trying to take out of the business. We're investing in growth markets that are giving us substantive growth. To Cathie's point that she mentioned, graphics and the enterprise performed very nicely from a growth perspective for us in the quarter. So we're taking money and investing in those categories, and it is showing up, at the same time as we have a core business where we're sort of picking our spots as to where we feel makes sense to work on.

As Cathie also mentioned, and I'll follow-up on that, that we had some inkjet placements in the quarter that we could have made and didn't, from a unit perspective. We had some tailwind -- some headwind because of the appliances, but we could have done better than we did. And just to be very blunt, I'm not real happy about it. So there's more work for us to yet go do.

[Question] David Bailey - Goldman Sachs – Analyst
Just to sort of follow-up on that. Your overall per unit growth has come down four quarters in a row. Given the weakness we see in inkjet demand across the industry, should we think of this as a trend that should continue, or are there some reasons that you should start to see some stabilization or a rebound in growth as we go through the year?

[Answer]
Mark Hurd - Hewlett-Packard Company - Chairman, President, and CEO
I'll make a couple of comments and Cathie can follow-up. I sort of tried to give you that even, actually, in Richard's question. We reported 1% unit growth. There's a couple of points of unit growth tied up in the appliance piece. Remember that the laser growth in the quarter was 13%, so very significant double-digit laser growth. So I think when you think a couple of points on the inkjet side of total units would have come back through the appliance side, plus we left a couple of points on the table that we felt we could have had. So you've really got two different tales here. You've got kind of the laser business that's 13% growth that's going pretty quick. You've got the inkjet business that has some of the characteristics you described. I would, at the risk of giving you one more twist, tell you that long run, we're very focused on pages. So when we talk about inkjet units, we sort of lose the context of what happens in Scitex growth and Indigo growth in the high-end commercial printing that, frankly, has as much to do with our future -- and to Richard's earlier point, we may wind up with a slight disconnect in trying to model unit growth and inkjet to supplies growth, because what happens is the -- and I won't do this again -- but an Indigo printer when it goes up is worth thousands and thousands of inkjet consumer printers going out. And as those businesses grow, you can start to get a disconnect in what the suppliers growth looks like and what the actual inkjet unit growth looks like. And you're going to hear us talking a lot more about trying to get you some transparency to what that page growth looks like, and the implication it has long-term on our supplies business.

[Question] Shannon Cross - Cross Research – Analyst
Just wanted to ask a bit more on the printer side of the business. Mark, when you think about the trade-off between margins and market share and unit placements in that, can you kind of go through your idea on where you're going at for this year, because obviously, with unit volumes slowing, you think you'd have a mix shift to supplies. And I think you also mentioned some pretty aggressive comp moves within IPG. So at the end of the day, how aggressive do you think you'll be on pricing? How much do you think you'll sort of return to the bottom-line through margin expansion, etcetera? Thanks.

[Answer] Mark Hurd - Hewlett-Packard Company - Chairman, President, and CEO
We'll try to be precise in our aggression, if that makes sense, as opposed to just running around trying to do things that are aggressive in a broader sense. But again, I would like to tell you that IPG is a bit more complicated in the context of think ofthem with at least four big things we're trying to do at the same time. One is we're trying to realign our cost structure. And the great thing about IPG is it's a great business that's made a lot of money.The bad thing is it's a great business that's made a lot of money. And like with many businesses that have done that for a longtime, we have certain ways of doing things that VJ and Cathie and I know we can do a lot better than we're doing today. And it forms the basis for a big cost opportunity for us, and we're working it. Secondly, we want to grow the graphics business. Cathie, I thought, was very clear on our [intent] and our performance in that business. Third, we want to grow our enterprise business. And both of those have performed nicely for us over the past several quarters; again in Q1.Fourth, there is a core consumer business. We look at that differently by geography. As we described, we look at the laser business a little different than we do the inkjet business. And so when you look at that entire aggregation, we will pick our spots. And I will tell you here that we are not just trying to drive margin; we're looking at the optimization of long-term margin, which has a balance of units of placement, but making sure they're sensible unit placements that have long-term supplies connect at the same time as we try to get short-term operating profit. So it is very possible, Shannon, as you know, that we have a profit number that we wish we would have put more units in the market. And as I mentioned earlier, there were some units we could have put in the market as we looked back on it afterwards that we wish we had. And it is what it is. So we'll go back and make sure we try to get this right as we move forward here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HP Printer Metrics through Q1 FY08

HP (NYSE HPQ) is out with earnings today after the bell, and they're impressive across the board. Here are the printer metrics, as shared by the company in their official announcement and slides from the conference call. Interesting comments from CEO Mark Hurd on the call itself, to follow when the transcript becomes available.

Show Biz and the printing and imaging industry

Those of you who might have read my "Book Scanners" post and clicked through to Steven Levy's piece(s) on the Atiz Booksnap may have enjoyed reading about Atiz founder Sarasin "Art" Booppanon and his partner, former Xerox salesman Nick Warnock of Donald Trump's Apprentice fame.

Well, that's not the only Donald Trump Apprentice connection within our industry lately. In January, NBC's Celebrity Apprentice aired a show, still available via streaming video, that featured the Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-one and the Celebrity Teams' efforts to promote the product, around an "it's all about the ink" theme. Kodak's notable "One Thousand Nerds" blog covers the broadcast as well as follow-up party preceding the Kodak 2008 analyst event in early February.

I don't know what there is about the Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE EK), but they just seem to have show business in their corporate DNA. Of course, part of their business is based in Hollywood, as a major supplier to the Film (as in Entertainment) Industry, and the Kodak Theatre, home to the Oscars ceremony (this year's is February 24th, we hope!), provides a regular reminder of the company's connection to the silver screen.

And while I'm on the subject of Kodak and show business, a friend forwarded a link to a unique product review site called "Pass The Taters" that's worth a look, for their review of the Kodak 5300 as well as other products. Different production values than, say, the aforementioned 80th annual Academy Awards broadcast, but quite entertaining!

Book scanners as a consumer item?



Steven Levy, in his The Technologist column in both last week's Newsweek (see "Rip This Book? Not Yet") and The Washington Post (see "Book Ripper Doesn't Bother Publishers, Yet"), highlights a fascinating new product in the imaging and printing space.

While Levy's assessment is that the Atiz Booksnap is not the catalyst that will trigger a revolution of book digitization and sharing among the masses (aka "Napsterize the book publishing industry"), it was particularly interesting to read Levy's account of his conversation with Patricia Schroeder, CEO of the Association of American Publishers.

Not that publishers seem worried. 'I'm not going to lose sleep over the BookSnap,' said Patricia S. Schroeder, the former congresswoman who is chief executive of the Association of American Publishers. 'We've been ready to sell e-books for 10 years,' she said. 'Everybody still likes physical books.' When it comes to potential infringement, she's more worried about abuse of print-on-demand machines that can quickly turn a digital file into a printed book for less than $10.

This is reminiscent of a quote I captured in a post on "Kindle Printing" late last year, and similar to thoughts that often arise when the super-fast Memjet print capabilities are described. (BTW Silverbrook's Memjet was a recent winner of a PC Magazine Technical Excellence award for 2007.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Observations: Zink Partnerships Make Really Big News

Zink Partnerships Make Really Big News

Just when I was complaining about printer-specific products not getting enough coverage in the general and business press (see my December 2008 "Observations"), here comes a front-page story in early January from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The combination of Zink’s "zero ink" printing technology and Polaroid’s brand, distribution, and still-household name and legacy of instant printing combined to make headlines like "Polaroid back to its roots with tiny printer" from CNN, and "How to print photos while on the road" from USAToday’s Ed Baig, and propelled the miniaturized portable photo printer into one of CES’s breakthrough stories of 2008.

While the hard news about Zink and Polaroid, and their other partnerships with Alps Electric Company, FoxConn Technology Group, and TOMY Company are detailed elsewhere in the February 2008 edition of The Hard Copy Observer, it is worth looking at some of the factors that helped this story resonate across the huge trade show and to the world beyond.

Last year, Zink Imaging first broke the PR mold with its announcement in late January at Demo 2007, which I covered for the March 2007 Observer and in this blog. As a long-time Demo attendee, I had never seen such a direct hit with a printing product at the show famous for hosting the inaugural viewings of products like the Palm Pilot and Tivo. Moreover, Zink was a direct hit with the Demo audience by capturing the imagination with an iPod-sized printer and camera phone/printer combo. While these products were only prototypes and Zink was then openly and actively seeking "productization" partners (in a deviation from the "old" Demo rules of only accepting soon-to-be-shipped finished products), the zero ink products made for lots of buzz at the show and in the technology press.

This year, in choosing a communications forum to further the story, Zink rolled the dice in a possibly even bigger bet, one which Wendy Caswell, Zink CEO, described as an "important strategic decision." For Zink's partner announcements, the firm chose the mayhem and clutter of CES over the much more controlled and focused Photo Marketing Association show (PMA). Though CES is about a month earlier than PMA in 2008, timing was not a factor but positioning was. Seeing themselves as true disruptors, and with that stated intent, Zink made the decision to launch at CES to gain broader appeal outside the established printer and photo markets.

Zink sees the virtues of appealing to potential partners that are outside the grip of the "Innovator’s Dilemma." In other words, they are not relying on or expecting too much from existing industry players, who would turn down the opportunity to deploy Zink’s technology in future products, even if it allowed new applications and form factors, in favor of designing future printers around existing technologies that have already received a large investment in time and money.

Business students and others may recognize that phrase and underlying philosophy and attribute them to their originator, Clayton Christensen. It so happens that Christensen has close ties to Zink, first as an advisor and now as an investor, so the firm has a direct line to the ultimate expert in doing things differently by appealing to all new users, applications, and customers.

Caswell's enthusiasm for Zink and its potential for new applications and new users is infectious, and in a recent interview, she talked about sharing a Zink/Polaroid demo with none other than Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, while attending a Boston Celtics/Mavericks basketball game the night before. Caswell is far from a star-struck CEO, however, and she waxes more enthusiastically about the deal Zink made last spring to buy a media plant from Konica Minolta, located in North Carolina, and the progress the firm has made in retooling that facility in the interest of assuring a supply of special Zink media (and myriad envisioned product variations) for years to come.

Despite the successful Demo launch, execution was at the top of Caswell's list for 2007, and while partnership activities were clearly being pursued (in fact the ALPS announcement reveals collaboration over the prior 24 months), putting the operational side in place has been a top priority. Even the identification of the partners, which was originally planned for the first half of 2007, was clearly held back while details were sorted out and ship dates became clearer. Keep in mind, too, that two of the four partners (ALPS and FoxConn) are design and manufacturing partners that stand ready to collaborate on new products with other brands and go-to-market partners, in addition to Polaroid and TOMY.

The business side of the story is compelling for industry denizens, and clearly the CES forum helped spread the word. But this column is supposed to be about what made the Zink/Polaroid news so compelling to the national press. Think about it—an upstart company joins with a famous old name to put together a cute little gadget—how could it not be a big story? If you still have doubts, check out the February 2008 "Style Watch" edition of People Magazine, where along with the hottest "cute shoes, bright tops, and fun bags," you can see the Zink/Polaroid portable printer!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Google Presentations and more enhanced printing

As regular readers might recall, I'm both a user and sometimes critic of Google (NASDAQ GOOG) Documents, I was excited to see more "print enhancements" featured in the "Just Launched" section of their latest "What's New" update.

Unlike the traditional Office Suite business, where new versions seem to come out every four years or so (i.e. 2003, 2007, ...), with Service Packs every year or two in between, the nascent Web App biz seems to be able to roll in new features and benefits whenever they're ready. I posted just a month ago (see "Google Docs now with enhanced print capability") about better printing from the "word processing" module of Google Docs (which is also referred to as "Docs"*), and in that brief post I anticipated better printing from Google Presentations coming next.

Well, a month later, here it is..."More print options for your slides
Now you can print 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, or 12 slides on a single sheet of paper. Save trees and still get useful handouts to share!" As I noted in my post on a September 2007 test drive (see "Web-Based Application Printing -- Google Presentations") the old "2-up" limitation was way too restrictive. Good news, Google! And my first hands-on trial, just now, seems to work pretty, pretty good!

* In SAT terms, Office is to Word as Docs is to Docs.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thinking too much?

So with all the Microsoft (NASDAQ MSFT) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ YHOO) news lately, maybe I've been thinking about it all just a little too much. As already mentioned in a post yesterday, HP's (NYSE HPQ) printing boss, Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi, has an integral role in the deal, as a member of Yahoo!'s board. And then the news, just yesterday, that VJ's boss, HP CEO Mark Hurd, has been named to the News Corp BOD. And today? Word that News Corp (NYSE NWS), owner of Fox Broadcasting, the Wall Street Journal, and MySpace, to name a few, is interested in potentially taking a stake in Yahoo!, in a deal which would, among other things, foil the Microsoft bid. It's no doubt way too soon for Hurd to be working behind the scenes. And at least Dick Hackborn, the legendary HP exec, former company Chairman and still current board member, has retired from a long-time spot on Microsoft's board. That could have made things really complicated!

Cost per Page -- Low-end color lasers approaching 10 cents


I've focused a little attention recently on some price drops in the printer area, specifically low-end color laser printers, like the HP (NYSE HPQ) Color LaserJet 2605DN pictured above. Interesting note for those considering taking advantage of one of these great deals, particularly the one sub-$250 price currently being touted for the 2605DN by many vendors including HP themselves. Given its 2,500-page-capacity black toner cartridge, and its three 2,000-page-capacity CMY cartridges, a user can print pages at just over 10 cents a page (at the 5% coverage index HP specs), not including the paper. Of course, when it's time to replace the supplies (at just under $325 per HP's current prices), that Cost per Page (CPP) jumps to more like 15 cents!

Tac's Time

Everyone once in a while, I can't resist the urge...well two urges. One is a debatably clever pun for a post title, and the other is falling into the "bloggers blogging about blogging and other bloggers" curse.

This note is one I believe is worthy though, as a new HP (NYSE HPQ) Blog has been kicked off by a colleague, Tac Anderson, currently the "Web 2.0 Strategic lead" for the LaserJet business. Prior to joining HP, though, Tac was a Web 2.0 consultant who actually helped me get over the hump in getting this blog, JimLyonsObservations.com, up and going almost two years ago.

Tac's new blog, Marketing Impressions, "is dedicated to bringing you the best tips, tricks and ideas to make you and your business look its best through effective use of marketing material". The new blog joins HP's Small & Medium Business Community Blog in providing advice to Small Businesses on how to enhance their marketing and business acumen, which usually seems to involve the use of hard copy printed by HP printers.

I welcome Marketing Impressions and am adding it to my blogroll on the right. I look forward to reading Tac's future posts, which I expect to be regular and frequent but not too lengthy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HP's Joshi is keeping busy!

HP's (NYSE HPQ) printer chief, Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi is a busy guy these days.

As Fortune's Jon Fortt points out in his recent blog post "HP’s printer challenge", there's a good news/bad news aura surrounding the company's industry-dominating printer business. The good news? All that revenue and especially profit "heavy lifting" that the HP income statement traditionally depended on from the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) has relented some with the other business units' continually improving health. And the bad news? The printer industry's relative low overall growth is causing reasons to re-think the business and effective growth strategies. Fortt quotes VJ on the "Printing not Printers" strategy shift which I covered in this blog as early as December 2006, and really has roots in a decade-old strategic view which had at its foundation the "HP Paper Pie" that described the world of printing in its entireity and visually pointed out the tiny slice that was then, as now, digitally-printed pages. That graphic has been well-known by industry insiders in and out of HP since the mid- to late-90's. Not that an old strategy is a bad strategy!

Interesting, too, is the juxtaposition of the HP piece on Fortune's Big Tech blog. It's sandwiched in between two posts on the Microsoft (NASDAQ MSFT)/Yahoo (NASDAQ YHOO) deal. Of course that story has been getting a tremendous amount of "ink", but the symbolic "observation" is that HP's Joshi is a member of Yahoo's board of directors, which of course voted over the weekend to forego the initial MS bid. Something else for VJ to ponder!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Laser printer deals at TechBargains.com


One of my favorite web sites is Techbargains.com, and over the last two days they've highlighted some great laser printer deals that reflect trends in the business, with some of the leading (if mostly older) monochrome and color personal lasers with some jaw-dropping prices.

Brother HL-2070N Network Ready Laser Printer $83.42 with free shipping (Buy.com)

Samsung ML-2510 Laser Printer $48.99 (after a $50 rebate) with free shipping (Buy.com)

Dell Color Laser Printer 1320c $229.00 with free shipping (Dell Small Business)

HP LaserJet 2605DN Color Printer
$249.97 (OfficeMax)

Note that the Dell (NASDAQ DELL) color laser is only $80 off its original list price (mid-2007) of $299 but the HP 2605DN (NYSE HPQ), was introduced a year earlier, in mid-2006, at a $500 price point. (This is the model I blogged about (see "More cheap marketing research?") using some of Amazon's market data available in their listing. Checking back with Amazon this morning, their offering of the 2605DN -- actually offered by Ritz Camera -- is at a low $243 and is ranked #548 in electronics.)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

David Pogue's picture frames review includes one that prints!


I saw a clever video review on the latest in Digital Picture Frames from The New York Times' David Pogue today on CNBC, and you can find his more conventional presentation, "Digital Slide Show -- On Your Wall" at the network's web site. With respect to the printer industry, the most notable aspect of the round-up is David's enthusiasm for the "SmartParts SP8PRT" digital picture frame with integrated printer. I've speculated that digital frames, if they go on to be more than the "chia pet" of Xmas 2007, as at least one analyst has speculated, may either be printer's friends or foes, all depending. In the case of the SP8PRT, "partner" may be the more appropriate term.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

GreenPrint World now on Download.com

GreenPrint, the company with the paper-saving software that I've blogged about in the past is in the news with a new version of their software, this one called GreenPrint World, and it's now available as a free download on Download.com.

The sponsor-supported (thus free to end-user) package has been out there for about a week (though it appears the "1.0.1" version was just uploaded today, February 6th). So far Download.com is showing over 12,000 downloads, and yes, one of those is mine. I downloaded GreenPrint World 1.0.1 this morning, on my Vista laptop. I've been using GreenPrint on my other machines (Windows XP variants) for about a year now, and noticed very little difference with the new version, beyond the ads, of course. (See chart below.) In addition to the familiar page-saving functions, I was very happy to see the "create PDF" function still there in the free version -- a very easy-to-use feature that I find myself using more and more as time goes on.

My advice -- give it a try!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The bloggers are back!

A few weeks back, I'd been tempted to do a post about "where have all the bloggers gone?", so it's very nice to see some of my fellow print-industry blogs out with new or recent posts. I've already mentioned the LaserJet Blog's commentary on the Lyra Imaging Symposium last Friday, so it's great to see other HP (NYSE HPQ) blogs and bloggers coming out of their winter dormancy of a month or more. The Small Business Printing blog and Enterprise Printing blog each have recent posts, the the HP "Print 2.0" blog has a post by Patrick Scaglia that's close to my heart. He comments on four big tech developments during 2007, and two of the four, iPhone and Kindle, have been frequent topics here at Jim Lyons Observations (for example, see "Amazon's Kindle Stirs Up Printing and Imaging" and "Looking Back on 2008 -- iPhone Printing"), and I've also touched on HP's "printer/frame" combination, the A826, in my September 2007 post entitled "Digital Photo Frames, Printer Friend or Foe?". Patrick's fourth development, the One Child Per Laptop XO-1 computer, has also been on my radar for some time, though not yet making it to this blog.

So HP Bloggers...thanks for coming back! And some of you other (nameless) folks over there on the right in my blogroll, take a hint!

Friday, February 01, 2008

An HP View of the 2008 Lyra Symposium

HP's (NYSE HPQ) Tom Codd has posted a thoughtful piece over at the LaserJet Blog entitled "Being HP at the Lyra Imaging Symposium" and I appreciate his viewpoints (and the links!).

Follow the link to read his entire post, but it's worth highlighting his takeaway on the "big three" conference themes for Tom and HP.

Theme 1: Color printers and color MFPs are the growth opportunity of the future for the laser printer
Theme 2: It's not about speeds and feeds anymore.
Theme 3: Environmental.

And while I'm at it, a tip of the cap to Adam Dewitz at the Print CEO Blog for his link to my Symposium coverage.