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HP revamps poster printers

Long the printer market leader, HP has made no secret that it wants to dominate every segment.

In an attempt to be all things to all people in the printer market, Hewlett-Packard (HWP) today introduced a new series of large-format inkjet printers.

The HP DesignJet 450c color printer and the DesignJet 430 monochrome printer are aimed at the small business markets, and in particular graphic design, architectural, and engineering firms with industrial-level printing needs. The new printers, which can print high-quality, poster-sized documents, range in price from $1,995 to $3,495.

HP, which has long dominated the office printer market, has made no secret that it wants to dominate every segment of the printing market, according to Ana Gordon, a market analyst with International Data Corporation. This week's new release merely confirms its strategy.

"HP is trying to provide printers at different price points for different target audiences," Gordon said. "They are really looking to fill in any holes or perceived holes in their product line. The 400 series has some added functionality, some things that people had been asking for."

Tremendous brand recognition and marketing dollars should give the company an advantage in the low-price, large-format printing market over such other printer manufacturers like Encad, she said.

"They are HP, and they have the HP money and the HP marketing muscle behind them," Gordon said.

The 400 series replaces the 300 series of printers. Among new features, the 450C and the 430 printers are up to 50 percent faster than the 300 series, and offer an integrated automatic cutter, as well as an optional roll-feed and an improved sheet-feeding mechanism.

All of the automated features are attractive in a slower speed printer, Gordon pointed out, "because the ink jets are fairly slow, one thing that people are looking for is a printer that can run overnight unattended."