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Compaq introduces line of printers

New ink jet printers made by Lexmark had been slated for bundling with a new line of AMD K6-based PCs, but the consumer machines have been delayed.

Compaq introduced a new line of low-cost color ink jet printers made by Lexmark, but delayed a major release of consumer PCs to be sold alongside them in bundling arrangements.

Compaq will likely introduce new Presario PCs that use the K6 from Advanced Micro Devices, the Celeron processor from Intel, and Pentium II processors running at 350 MHz and 400 MHz later this month, according to sources close to the company.

Bundling the new PC models and Compaq's renewed attempt at printers is intended as a strategy to entice cost-conscious buyers with a complete home solution, while avoiding further price cuts in the low-margin segment. No explanation for the PCs' delayed rollout was immediately available.

Rival Hewlett-Packard is already offering a consumer PC bundle for $999 which includes a monitor and a rebate of $150 with a printer. The strategy has helped it creep up behind Compaq to become No. 2 in the home PC market.

Compaq previously competed in the high-end printer market in the early part of the decade but left because of broad losses. HP is easily the printer market leader.

Compaq's lowest-cost IJ200 color ink jet printer features 600-by-600 dots-per-inch (dpi) resolution printing at 3.5 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white, or 1.5 ppm in color. The printer will sell for $129.

The IJ700 offers 1200-by-1200 dpi resolution for $249, while the IJ900 featres the same resolution at 8 ppm black and white or 4 ppm color for $349. Both models come with more sophisticated software for editing digital photos and other such tasks.