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HP touts new all-in-one printers

Listening to the needs of home users drawn to digital imaging, the computer maker is releasing a lower-priced model that can print, copy and scan.

Hewlett-Packard announced on Monday two new all-in-one printers in response to what it observes as a shift in consumer opinions about the combination devices.

"They were once viewed as compromise products because they didn't offer the latest qualities; they were complicated to use, less reliable and expensive," HP spokesman John Solomon said. "But the market is moving--there are no trade-offs."

IDC analyst Dan Corsetti agreed with Solomon, noting that printers with scanners and copiers are faster, offer better print quality and provide additional features such as photo proof sheets.

HP will begin shipping the HP PSC 2110 and PSC 2210 within the next four weeks. The $249 HP PSC 2110 can print, copy and scan. The $399 PSC 2210 model can print, copy, scan, fax and has built-in flash memory-card readers. The memory readers allow consumers to print images without first downloading the files to a PC.

Solomon said the all-in-one printer category grew 98 percent in the first quarter of 2002 compared with the prior year, with HP holding 60 percent of that segment. Of the overall printer market, HP also is the leader, with a share of just over 50 percent, according to research firm IDC. Lexmark holds the No. 2 spot at about 18 percent.

Printers and related accessories are HP's "crown jewel," but controlling such a large chunk of the market means further growth can be slow. While overall printer shipments in the first quarter declined 8 percent compared with the same period a year ago, HP managed to pick up 5 percent market share in the second quarter, according to IDC.

Solomon added that the company will commit more research and development spending towards all-in-one printers and will aim to shorten the time it takes to add new features from standalone printers to HP's all-in-one products.

HP printer "It has taken six or nine months to add new features to all-in-ones, but we want to cut that to less than two months," Solomon said.

Corsetti added that HP is benefiting from the surging popularity of digital imaging. IDC estimates that 9 million digital cameras will be shipped in 2002, an increase of one million units compared with 2001.

"HP is attending to the needs of the home user, who is more and more using digital imaging technology," Corsetti said.