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Lexmark launches upscale printers

One model enables users to directly attach camcorders, VCRs, and digital cameras.

    Printer manufacturer Lexmark International today launched its next generation inkjet series, hoping that added bells and whistles will help it to compete with the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Epson.

    Lexmark's 7200 series builds upon the company's earlier 7000 inkjet line. The printers come with a six-color print cartridge and the printer can be customized to deal with either photo or office printing.

    Another model, the 7200v, allows users to attach camcorders, VCRs, or digital cameras directly to the printer using a product known as Snappy Inside. The 7200v allows the technology to plug directly into the printer. While Snappy Inside is available separately for $199, it requires its own computer port, an option some users don't have.

    The printers provide resolution of 1200-by-1200 dots per inch and speeds of eight pages per minute in black draft mode and three pages per minute with color. The 7200 will run on Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows 3.1. The 7200v will not run on Windows NT.

    Lexmark estimates the price of the 7200 to be $399 and $499 for the 7200v.

    Ana Gordon, an analyst at International Data Corporation, said the printer is intended to sell to home PC users who have a need for high-quality printing.

    "They're trying to get a segment where it's a home computer and kids are printing things out and sending them to grandma, but also maybe mom and dad may want to print things out they will present at a business meeting," said Gordon, who follows the printer industry.

    Gordon added that although the 7200 series is comparable to inkjet printers made by rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Epson, it remains to be seen whether Lexmark will be able to steal their market share.

    "They're fighting against other companies that produce similar products that have enormous marketing budgets and are already known for this type of product," Gordon said. "I don't know if the average guy going to Computer City knows Lexmark."