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HP marks 100 millionth laser printer sale

Anand Parthasarathy

Launches entry level multifunction version in the Indian market


  • A printer sold every four seconds — for 22 years!
  • To launch a special web site



    THEN AND NOW: The world's first laser printer launched by HP in 1984 (left) and the latest Laserjet M 1005 multi-function printer that goes on sale in India this week.

    BANGALORE: Hewlett Packard has launched a six-month long celebration in India to mark the global sale of the 100 millionth laser printer. This comes 22 years after it created the world's first printer that used a narrow pencil beam of intense light to scan the words and pictures in a document, and a dry, black and electrically charged toner powder to fuse them onto a sheet of paper. In effect, the company has been selling a laser printer every four seconds over these years is a market leader worldwide in the printing business.

    To mark the occasion, HP has launched an entry level laser printer in the Indian market — the Laserjet M 1005 — that also works as copier and scanner. In 1984, the first laser printer weighed a hefty 30 kg, took two minutes to churn out the first page and its image with 300 dots to the square inch (DPI) was considered razor sharp. The machine cost the equivalent of $3,500 in India — with a hefty add-on of customs duty and taxes, that jacked up the price by another $1,000 or so.

    The new budget MFP or multi-function printer, unveiled on Wednesday, costs about a tenth of the 1984 U.S. price — the Indian selling price is Rs. 12,999. It churns out copies at 14 pages per minute and the image is twice as sharp (600 DPI). In fact top-of-the-line lasers today routinely provide resolutions of 1,200 DPI.

    Briefing The Hindu over phone, Samir Shah, HP's Country Manager (India) for Shared Printing and Connectivity, explained that while multi-function laser printers had been offered for the pricier enterprise sector, the M 1005 was the first HP product that offered lay users and small users the option of laser technology rather than inkjet. In fact the company had already launched earlier this year, the world's smallest laser printer, the Laserjet 1018, at a price that home users could afford, he added.

    Since 2003, the Indian market showed a slow but steady lurch towards laser printers. While they did not outsell inkjets, their share had grown from 11 per cent to something like 28 per cent today, Mr Shah said. On October 2, HP will launch a special web site (www.hp.com.in/learn/laserjets) with useful information about laser printer technology. It has also announced a competition for its laser printer business owners (www.hp.com/in/laserjetwish).

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