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Printer Hardware

New Inkjet Technology 5 To 10 Times Faster 291

Posted by kdawson
from the 1600-dpi dept.
sarahbau writes "Silverbrook's new Memjet technology can print 60 full-color pages per minute. Instead of having a print head that moves side to side like current inkjets, the print head spans the full width of the page, containing 70,400 nozzles in the A4 version. They also have a large-format printer (51") that prints 6" to 1 foot per second. Products are expected to start shipping in late 2007: first a photo/label printer, then a home/office printer for less than $300 in 2008." The video is amazing. If it's for real, the technology would be disruptive at half the speed and twice the price.
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New Inkjet Technology 5 To 10 Times Faster

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  • Ink (Score:5, Funny)

    by ByteSlicer (735276) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:08AM (#18441851)
    With the cost of ink these days, one might as well use it to print sheets of money...
    • Re:Ink (Score:5, Funny)

      by ravishjunk (618123) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:11AM (#18441885) Homepage
      ... and still at massive loss!
    • Re:Ink (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EggyToast (858951) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:24AM (#18442039) Homepage
      It's been about 8 months since I gave up on inkjet as a technology. We'd been through about 6 printers over the past 6 years, some lasting longer than others, and would usually get one that was cheap-ish, but inevitably they would clog. Why? Because we didn't print every day. The last one was actually 2 printers as Canon replaced it for free. But if you went more than 2 weeks without printing anything, you were headed to clogsville.

      Given that it would eat up a rather large portion of an ink cartridge to attempt to clean a clogged head, and inevitably we would pick up another set of ink cartridges in an attempt to fix it, that was $60 down the drain WAY too frequently.

      We've since picked up a color laser printer, which plugs into our network with no fuss, and has printed about 5 times the number of pages at a fraction of the toner/ink use. Toner costs more, but if it lasts for years and years with no clogs and no loss in quality, we'll happily accept that charge. They're not as nice for photos, but that's what Shutterfly is for.
      • Re:Ink (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tatarize (682683) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:40AM (#18442267) Homepage
        Well on the bright side, this new printer will break other ways less often. The head doesn't move so no moving head problems. Though, to be fair, if you went several weeks without printing anything at the margins wouldn't the printer clog at the margin? Roughly, every part of the page has it's own printer head, isn't that going to let some of the heads stick without the others?
      • Re:Ink (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:41AM (#18442275) Homepage
        Exactly why I bought a laserjet 2605dn. Bonus: I get postscript, built-in networking, duplexing, and a printer that works perfectly with cups after downloading the custom ppd.

        If you want to print some pictures, just upload them to wal-mart or something. I don't know about everyone else, but pictures are not something I print a lot of, and many things I do print would quickly exhaust ink cartridges. And as the parent stated: clogged cartridges suck. Who as a home user uses their printer frequently enough to keep that from happening? This is not a problem with laserjet toner.
        • Re:Ink (Score:5, Funny)

          by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:23AM (#18443771) Homepage Journal
          If you want to print some pictures, just upload them to wal-mart or something. I don't know about everyone else, but pictures are not something I print a lot of, and many things I do print would quickly exhaust ink cartridges. And as the parent stated: clogged cartridges suck. Who as a home user uses their printer frequently enough to keep that from happening? This is not a problem with laserjet toner.

          Game over, SCHecklerX wins the thread.

          Seriously, why are we even having these conversations any more? Ooh, a new way to clog up your ink cartridges! Mod me troll if you want, but why we're still debating (heh! not even, it's DEAD!) the pros and cons of inkjet technology is beyond me.

          To recap: You want to print a little? Spend the money on an LJ, becuase an underused IJ clogs up.
          You want to print a lot? Spend the money on an LJ, because it's more cost-effective.
          Want to print pictures? Go to Wal-mart like the man said.

          Come on folks, do yourselves a favour: take your inkjets out to a field somewhere, crank the Rap tunes up to 11 and have at 'em with a baseball bats. You know you want to.
          • Re:Ink (Score:5, Insightful)

            by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @10:30AM (#18443887) Homepage Journal

            You want to print a lot? Spend the money on an LJ, because it's more cost-effective.

            Here's the problem with that statement; if you can find an inkjet without a banding problem, it often has output as good as or even superior to a high-end laser printer. The best computer photo prints I've seen have all come from inkjet printers, not laser printers.

            In fact, just behind me and a bit to the left is a Laserjet 5550. This is a five thousand dollar printer, give or take a grand, if you load it up with RAM. The cost to replace all the toner? You might be able to get it cheaper elsewhere, but buying HP carts from CDW, which is what we do, costs literally $1300 for a full set. The cost per page is something like 26 cents if you're printing an average sheet with something like 20% coverage.

            If you get a Canon inkjet with a continuous inker and just buy ink refills, then you can probably beat that quite handily. And you can probably get the printer for under $300 for the whole schmeer. Problem is, it's slow as hell compared to the big fat laser. But if you had an inkjet with a full-width head, you could solve that problem, too. And in the bargain you'd get rid of the high-powered electronics, the carcinogenic toner and fumes (which they very much are, especially from colored toners) and the gigantic printer.

            The head clogging is a problem. Unless they have that solved, this printer is a non-starter. But I don't think it's an insoluble problem. In fact, maybe the answer is a cleaning solution (nyuk nyuk) and an embedded ultrasonic transducer. Recycled inkjet cartridge nozzles are cleaned with some kind of detergent or something, I don't even know what, but they're done with an ultrasonic washer to break up the bits of ink without touching the nozzles, which are of course very very small.

            • Re:Ink (Score:4, Informative)

              by Doctor Memory (6336) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:16AM (#18444609)

              if you can find an inkjet without a banding problem, it often has output as good as or even superior to a high-end laser printer. The best computer photo prints I've seen have all come from inkjet printers, not laser printers.
              Depends on the paper you use. If you're printing photos on the proper photo-quality paper, then the inkjet wins hands down. OTOH, if you're like me and typically buy whatever paper's cheapest at the grocery store because I've run out at 11:30 at night, you tend to get varying results. Laser printers (my Lexmark, anyway) tend to give more consistent results across varying paper grades. I have actually chosen to submit a diagram-laden document I printed on the laser over a copy I printed on the inkjet, because the color diagrams saturated the paper to the point that it got "wavy" (and there was some discernable bleeding).
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by ncc74656 (45571) *

              In fact, just behind me and a bit to the left is a Laserjet 5550. This is a five thousand dollar printer, give or take a grand, if you load it up with RAM. The cost to replace all the toner? You might be able to get it cheaper elsewhere, but buying HP carts from CDW, which is what we do, costs literally $1300 for a full set. The cost per page is something like 26 cents if you're printing an average sheet with something like 20% coverage.

              We bought a Color LaserJet 3800dn for the office a while back. It's

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I use compatible cartridges. You can pick these up for the Epson or Canon inkjets at sites like www.inkco.us for as little $3-5 a cartridge for the 4-cartridge printers. For instance, my Epson Stylus C88 carts cost around $15 at Office Depot or OfficeMax, $35 for the black. So about $80 in carts if you buy the Epson OEM carts. But the compatibles run me about $5 a piece, black or color, so a full set only costs me about $20 + shipping. I use inkco in particular because they will ship via USPS regular ma
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I completely agree. For the number of time I actually need color, I can just go down to the local print shop and have them print it out in better quality for less cost then I could do it for. If I want photos, i'll go to walmart or shoppers, or loblaws or blacks, or one of the 8 million other places that does digital prints. And for all my black and white needs, a laser printer does well. I can't think of a time that I've actually needed color prints at home. I mean, it's nice to have around, but it's
      • Re:Ink (Score:4, Informative)

        by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:50AM (#18442419)

        But if you went more than 2 weeks without printing anything, you were headed to clogsville.

        Nothing that a q-tip and a little alcohol can't fix.

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      I recently started using ink refills, where you inject fresh ink in using a syringe. It seems to be working fine so far, but I'll wait and see. Anyone else have any experience with this?
      • Re:Ink (Score:4, Funny)

        by Hal_Porter (817932) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:48AM (#18442403)
        Even tweakers don't try to inject ink with a syringe. You crazy bastard. Hope you're using a ink with a water soluble pigment.

        Does it get you really fucked up though? Not that I'm interested or anything...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        I've found I can generally get one refill at best two refills and it starts to print funny.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Physics Dude (549061)
        I have a Canon S9000 6-color inkjet and I've refilled the cartridges over and over for about two years with no problems using cheap Sam's Club refill kits. It's the cheapest printer I've used as far as ink costs go.

        I've tried to refill HP carts and it was a nightmare! I have either thrown or given away all of my HP inkjet printers. You should have a cron job to print a test page at least once a month though to keep your nozzles in use. For most of my printing I use B&W Laser though... very reliable

    • KDawson is a Slashdot editor who doesn't know much about writing, apparently: "If it's for real, the technology would be disruptive at half the speed and twice the price" should be "... the technology would be disruptive if it were half the speed and twice the price."

      There's no mention that the ink of the new printer is said to be 1/5 the price.

      Our extensive experience with refilling Canon ink cartridges of the the previous series of Canon printers is below, it is rewritten from a comment posted in October of 2004.

      We don't have any information about refilling the cartridges in Canon's Pixma series of printers, the most recent series. If you have information please provide it.

      Old series of Canon printers: 26 refills, $17. Color printing is a serious hassle. After having many problems, we spent a lot of time researching it. We bought a Canon S820 and a Canon S520, and we have had good luck refilling the cartridges using a kit from IMS [ims-ink.com], which we bought at a Costco store. The refill kit is NOT available on the Costco web site. Each kit allows something like 26 refills, and the kits cost $17 at the Costco store. The second time you do a refill, it is extremely easy. We inspected photos and font characters under a magnifying glass and were not able to see a difference between the hugely expensive Canon ink and the refill ink. There has been no difference in fading.

      The S820 has 6 separate cartridges. It is very slow, but photos are much nicer. The S520 has 4 cartridges. It's faster, and good for printing labels, for example. We have had no problems with print heads, which are separate from the tanks. Both use the same refill kit, which comes with 6 ink colors.

      Buy low. Then buy low again. Our experience is that it is far better to pay $50 for a printer, and replace it often with a new $50 printer, than to pay a lot and buy a "good one". The technology is changing so fast that the $50 printer of a few months from now will be better than the $400 printer sold now.

      HP: Ugh. In the past we have bought several HP color printers, and been badly burned. HP is expensive, and we have encountered many quirks. (Our experience has been that Carly Fiorino, former CEO of HP, destroyed the company, and it has stayed destroyed. we see a lot of HP printer software seriously failing, right out of the box. Can someone with little technical experience lead a technically oriented company? It's like a horse that can do math. It appears to be possible, until you realize that it is just a series of tricks.)

      Canon: Canon is an extremely adversarial company, in our experience, but less adversarial than the other printer manufacturers, at present.

      Canon does product churning, and apparently deliberate product confusion. Before, all the companies sold 6 tank printers as "photo printers". Now Canon is selling 4 or 5 tank printers as photo printers. The Canon USA web site [canon.com] has liberal use of web developer resume-building technologies like Flash and Javascript that tend to defeat use of Mozilla's tabs, and provide for menu choice surprises. There are extremely long URIs which are difficult to email.

      The Canon i860 [canon.com] is not related to the S820. Note that the web page says, "... it provides true 4 color photo printing...". One day a few months ago, the InkJet printer companies switched from "true 6 color photo printing" to the present "true 4 color photo printing". I don't know their motivation, but the 6 color printers print MUCH nicer photos, in our experience, with much better shadow detail. Tech company marketing departments take extreme advantage of any ignorance they find in customers.

      Testing in the store:
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dabraun (626287)

        The Canon i860 [canon.com] is not related to the S820. Note that the web page says, "... it provides true 4 color photo printing...". One day a few months ago, the InkJet printer companies switched from "true 6 color photo printing" to the present "true 4 color photo printing". I don't know their motivation, but the 6 color printers print MUCH nicer photos, in our experience, with much better shadow detail. Tech company marketing departments take extreme advantage of any ignorance they find in customers.

        Thi

    • by zakezuke (229119)
      With the cost of ink these days, one might as well use it to print sheets of money...

      TFA - Silverbrook has forecast printing costs for the 60 page per minute desktop printer at below $0.02 for black text, and under $0.06 for color pages (with 20 percent ink coverage), according to Lyra Research, which had early access to prototypes.

      This is pretty reasonable, and actually is onpar with many lasers. This is slightly cheaper than US model Canons which used the BCI-3e pigmented black cartridge and the HPs

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:08AM (#18441853) Journal
    Not only is the new ink jet print head 6 times faster they are also 10 times cheaper. Except, of course, they use ink that is 100 times more expensive.
    • by srmalloy (263556) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:19AM (#18441975) Homepage
      Excuse me? You should RTFA a little closer:

      Silverbrook has forecast printing costs for the 60 page per minute desktop printer at below $0.02 for black text, and under $0.06 for color pages (with 20 percent ink coverage), according to Lyra Research, which had early access to prototypes.

      The desktop printer's individual color ink cartridges hold 50ml of ink, an almost unprecedented amount in a consumer product, and will sell for less than $20 each, the company predicts. Most existing inkjet printers from companies like Epson use ink cartridges with a capacity of about 10ml, and prices of $15 to $30.

      "Silverbrook expect costs of ink and media supplies will be pushing new lows. They're not looking to subsidize their costs with high ink prices, instead they want more of a balance," says Steve Hoffenberg, Lyra's director of consumer imaging research.

      • by Fishead (658061)
        Wow!

        Could it be? An inkjet company that figured out why I avoid inkjet printers? Sounds pretty sweet.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It might be cheaper to manufacture. But at retail they have a good gig going, giving away the printers and charging an arm and a leg for replacement cartridges. So even if that printer prints using Aquafina it will cost you 100 times to buy the certified ink.

        That is what I tried to imply. But with my communications skills being so great, I tried to speak with a tongue in cheek and ended up mangling the tongue. Well, par for the course for me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by balbord (447248)
          You really should RTFA.

          [quoteTFA]
          The desktop printer's individual color ink cartridges hold 50ml of ink, an almost unprecedented amount in a consumer product, and will sell for less than $20 each, the company predicts. Most existing inkjet printers from companies like Epson use ink cartridges with a capacity of about 10ml, and prices of $15 to $30.
          [/quoteTFA]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        That's still extremely expensive for such a small amount of in. You're looking at 40 cents per millilitre. Gas is only $1.00 per liter, and that's way more complex a substance than ink. They act like they are doing you a favour, but in reality are still ripping you off.
        • by kestasjk (933987) * on Thursday March 22, 2007 @09:37AM (#18443043) Homepage
          A more complex substance? Concrete may be a complex substance but that has nothing to do with the price; it's about abundance, and oil is much more abundant than ink.

          Maybe when a lucky Texan strikes black, yellow, cyan, and magenta gold ink prices will plummet, but until then..
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ColdWetDog (752185)
            and oil is much more abundant than ink.

            Haven't you heard of ink wells? No? I guess they haven't been popular for a while, but in my day we saw lots more of them than the new fangled oil wells. Smaller and quieter too.

        • by moeinvt (851793)
          "You're looking at 40 cents per millilitre . . . still ripping you off."

          That sounds extremely cynical. Are you suggesting that being "ripped off" by paying $1.50 -> $3.50 perl ml is somehow better, or that people should just stop printing things to avoid getting screwed? You think gasoline is a better deal than ink? Try using it to print a photo(now THAT would be cool).

          The whole point is the cost savings vs. competing products, not some philosophical discussion about what the cost of ink should be
    • by imunfair (877689)
      The article seemed to say that the ink cartriges are actually cheaper than the current epson/etc ones. Did you not read the article, or do you have some reason to believe it's wrong?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433)
        Yes, it's called reality. This company can't create ink significantly cheaper than Epson, so once they get their foot in the door it's inevitable that they will try to maximize shareholder value and will jack up ink prices to the same general cost as other market participant.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:46AM (#18442385) Journal
        Here's one reason to believe it's wrong: it's already happened before. Repeatedly. So it's not even some guess, it's just having a working memory.

        Let's even assume that this company is genuinely honest and believes in that model. Tough luck, HP isn't. HP is at this time little more than an overpriced ink and paper company, and the printers are sold under price to get you hooked on buying their ink. So what happens is:

        1. Company X hits the market with a great new printer that costs $200 and ink costing $0.4 per ml. (Which is what $20 per 50ml cartridge means.)

        2. HP makes a clone that costs $100 and gouges you for a hefty $4 per ml for ink.

        Watch lemmings flock to get HP's version because it's cheaper.

        Better yet, HP is teh big brand name and has seemingly endless advertising money, while Company X is the new kid on the block and noone's heard of them. Let's buy a HP for mom's photos, they're probably better, right? Or for that matter, let's buy a whole bunch of HPs for the office, because they're such a big company, while Company X could go bankrupt by tomorrow. And nothing scares the pants off management more than dealing with a small company that could be gone overnight.

        And if Company X is not gone overnight, eventually it gets tired of having its sales undercut by HP crap, so it pulls the same stunt. Or it gets bought by HP. Or it goes big enough to go public, and Wall Street starts screaming for blood because the shares aren't growing as fast as they'd like. Or whatever. Cue new Deluxe model which costs $100 for the printer and $4 for the ink. And the old one is silently phased out, to make room for the new models.
        • by jandrese (485)
          Or more often, you buy the more expensive printer because you hear how good it is online, and then discover you can't buy replacement ink cartridges for love or money after a year or so.
        • by Niten (201835) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:35PM (#18446103)

          2. HP makes a clone that costs $100 and gouges you for a hefty $4 per ml for ink.

          Fortunately for Silverbrook, it sounds like they have several patents on their technology. HP won't be able to sink Memjet by cloning this printer, because HP would have to pay them royalties for each clone sold. Silverbrook could even prevent HP from copying it altogether if they desired.

          But this is all assuming that Silverbrook actually wants to sell these things itself. If their core business is indeed licensing patents, then it's possible that they just wanted to come up with a prototype to scare the pants off of the big inkjet manufacturers. Make a nice press release with a cool video, and stir up coverage with promises of inexpensive ink, and soon HP, Epson, Canon, and all the others will be knocking at the door, asking how they can license this for their own use.

          If Silverbrook genuinely wants to sell us cheap Memjet ink, then HP won't be able to stop them. But it's entirely possible that they would prefer to license Memjet to would-be competitors, in which case your prediction comes true; everyone carries on as before.

  • Videos real? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jacksonic (914470) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:12AM (#18441887)
    The videos are nice looking, but we never see blank paper sucked out of a paper tray. For all we know, those are mock-ups spitting out pre-printed pages.

    If, on the other hand, they are real, then it's impressive how unreal the technology looks!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by La Gris (531858)
      If you account the bandwidth required to feed all that graphic data between a computer and the print device and the power required to process all that data from a print dialect to colored dots and driving the internal printer mechanics, it makes me very skeptical.
      • Re:Videos real? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GeckoX (259575) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:43AM (#18442319)
        Are you serious? That is by far the biggest non-issue going with printers. That problem was solved a LONG time ago.

        Printers print at MANY orders of magnitude slower than the data being printed can be transferred, manipulated, organized and sent to the print head. This is simply not a problem. The bottleneck on any printer is actual print speed, NOT data availability.

        • by Xugumad (39311)
          ...unless doing something crazy. Like the time I wrote a 3D renderer in PostScript. Still, essentially you're right; adding more processing power to printers is relatively trivial, print speed has been a far greater challenge...
        • This wasn't even a problem back when I had my daisy wheel printer hooked up through a 300bps serial link
        • This just isn't true at all. Who modded it insightful? Rasterisation is a bottleneck, otherwise why do you think commercial printers need special purpose raster processing engines? Check a few specifications and you will see that processor speeds and memory scale quite fast with page size, emulations and number of colours. There is a reason for that.
  • Dead nozzles ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rastignac (1014569) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:15AM (#18441913)
    Too many nozzles ! Many nozzles = many chances something goes wrong.
    One dead (or dirty) nozzle, and your document has a "vertical white line" all the way long. Awfull.
    Many dead (or dirty) nozzles, and you must change the whole (and costy ?) printer head.

    (When the head gets dirty, the "clean head" function will eat so much ink that nobody wants to use it !).
    • Compartmentalize (Score:4, Insightful)

      by everphilski (877346) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:25AM (#18442069) Journal
      ... then compartmentalize the print heads into, say, half-inch spans. When the streaks start coming, replace the appropriate head. I'm sure they have thought this through...
      • by GundamFan (848341)
        It could be that the ink cartridge is incorporated into the "head array"... at least that is how I would do it.

        at the very least ti would have to be user replaceable for this to work.
      • by moeinvt (851793)
        "I'm sure they have thought this through..."

        Indeed. I'm sure they've thought through 99.9% of the problems the experts on this board are suggesting. The company is just NOT going to develop and announce a new product/technology without massive amounts of testing and de-bugging, and they're sure as hell not going to just forget about all of the KNOWN problems with current ink-jet products.

        This isn't a piece of software folks.
    • by Cowclops (630818)
      Well, one vertical white line is still better than having 30 horizontal white lines like with any other inkjet ever made.

      Never mind that if the nozzle array is more than one deep (Or maybe 4 deep, for CMYK) then you still won't see a big vertical line.
  • by dereference (875531) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:15AM (#18441917)
    I just wonder how prone this will be to clogs, and how expensive it will be to replace when (not if) it inevitably occurs. I'm sure that's not how "disruptive" was meant this context, but that's all I can imagine.
    • Also, speed is far from my first complaint. Inkjets have not been good for me in terms of paper handling, reliability or cost of use.

      I'd say that my inkjets have more than 10x the paper jamming incidents as my lasers, despite my lasers being used more, and one laser is a duplex printer, which is another avenue for paper jamming, but it rarely happens on them.

      Another complaint of mine is the cost of the ink. I think my lasers get over 10x more pages per dollar than inkjets.

      As such, I'd much rather buy a la
      • I'd say that my inkjets have more than 10x the paper jamming incidents as my lasers, despite my lasers being used more

        Actually, I wouldn't say "despite" there, I would say "because" instead.

        I've noticed that the lack of use--not heavy use--is precisely what causes the most problems with ink jets (and perhaps all printers, although to a much lesser extent). Ink clogs seem to tend to form whenever ink is not routinely flowing through the nozzles. Even the ink jet printers that (annoyingly so) perform self-cleaning cycles every day seem somewhat less prone to clogs than those that don't. The biggest factor by far in my

    • Printer manufacturers should rename them "ink consuming devices", or maybe "cash extractors". My next printer will be a laser printer.
  • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:16AM (#18441937) Homepage Journal
    I tried to get a Memjet, but accidentally bought Memejet instead. Now all I get are pictures from "All Your Base," "Yatta!," "Real Ultimate Power," and that guy in the homemade Tron costume.
    • by pipatron (966506)
      But what happened when you pushed the button? Did you receive something special? Bacon?
    • by MyHair (589485)

      I tried to get a Memjet, but accidentally bought Memejet instead. Now all I get are pictures from "All Your Base," "Yatta!," "Real Ultimate Power," and that guy in the homemade Tron costume.

      O RLY?
    • Considering what I'm paying for 8x10 color pictures, this might be a big win for me.
  • quality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:17AM (#18441949)
    So no more banding?
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:18AM (#18441965) Homepage Journal
    I own and run VIPMinistry.com [vipministry.com], a church print co-operative. We used color laser printers for the first few months and they were slow and painful to watch. Then we discovered Xerox's Phaser LED printers -- basically a laser, but with a "full width" of LEDs spanning the width of the page. Now they crank out double-sided sheets about 6 times faster than single-sided sheets (full color). With just 4 of these printers, we have replaced 12 lasers, and likely could replace 24 of them. They're mega-fast.

    Inkjet printers are still my favorite if not for the high cost of ink and the inability to work with a wide variety of paper. LEDs/Lasers are very maintenance heavy (drums, toner, a billion rollers, LED/Lasers over time, waste cartridges, etc, etc). I love the idea of a full-width printhead, though.

    The biggest problem with inkjets is ink technology. I'd love to find a solvent-based printer or something closer to an Indigo. Instead of working on faster printers (which help business more than the home), I think they should be working on newer printhead+ink technology.
    • Looks like OKI (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Flying pig (925874)
      I think your Xerox printers may be rebranded OKI (LED printing is an OKI technology). The reason they are fast is everything to do with the processor, software and print resolution, and little to do with the technology.

      That said, the OKI printers seem to be good workhorses and they have some nice features (very easy consumable replacement and good reporting, for two things). Unusually, they also measure the drum life rather than assuming it to be fixed. For relatively high output, especially on faster runs,

    • by josecanuc (91) *
      At my office we got an HP CLJ 5500, which is normal color laser. Except the 4 toner carts are "in-line" and the paper makes only one pass through the system. It gets 24ppm in both color and black-only modes.

      Unfortunately, HP discontinued it quite quickly and the machine does have a couple of quirks. But in general it has been a great printer.
  • How about a print array head of maybe a few dozen of these "full width" heads stacked up to print whole bands at once? Eventually a full "sheet at once" printer.

    Then they can get really fancy, micropositioning the "print face" at subdot distances for even higher resolution...

    Meanwhile, I'd like to use the printface with a video sensor for registration against the "last pass" for grafitti. Color, hi-res grafitti. Bombing by remote-control micro-helicopter...
  • So, since everyone is going to watch their pr0n videos on paper now, where are they going to store finished prints? Use them as wallpaper tiles? Or, since the sheets are connected, do semi-tasteful pranks involving rolls of the stuff and hundred-storey buildings?
  • by jimicus (737525) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:24AM (#18442035)
    Am I the only one who thinks this reads like advert in an attempt to get more capital?

    Every other sentence was "Analysts think...". Which can be loosely translated into English as "At a wild guess, we reckon...."

    They don't give a concrete release date for the product or any price more detailed than "less than $300". There's no point in producing this piece right now for the benefit of potential customers because all a potential customer can do is gawp at the video. They can't buy the product, they can't even see it for themselves at a local computer store. Similarly, seeing as there's obviously an intent to commercialise the product, there's no sense in this piece existing purely for the benefit of researchers (and besides, it hardly looks like a research paper).

    I think someone's venture capital is running out.
    • by solevita (967690)

      Am I the only one who thinks this reads like advert in an attempt to get more capital?
      What else have you come to expect from Slashdot?
    • by DingerX (847589)
      Nah, it's just the same writing staff as for Leonard Nimoy in in search of: "Scholars think..."
  • is new again. Laser printers went through this. The original laser printers were raster based laser based units, but they quickly went to arrays of LED lasers because a bunch of silicone was cheaper than the stuff needed to steer the laser accurately. My problem with a super faster inkjet is that a bad print job would cost an absolute fortune, it's bad enough when a fast laser cranks out a couple hundred pages of ASCII goop, thats about 5 cents per page, when you do the same with an inkjet it's probably mor
    • Not if you have a HP that doesn't understand PCL. Our Laser can dump 100% black pages at 20ppm. About 20p a page or £4/min.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      because a bunch of silicone was cheaper than the stuff needed

      See, that's what they WANT you to think. But the bunches of silicone get them noticed, and pretty soon, there's a $25,000 court case, and they're gone along with half your salary for the next umpteen years...

    • by imsabbel (611519)
      Sorry, you dont have a clue.

      90% of all modern lasers are still rastering with lasers. Thats why they are called "laser" printers.
      There are a few manufactorers of LED printers (Not "LED-Lasers", thats like saying "a gasoline diesel engine"). Oki comes to mind, as they are solely doing led prints.

      And the difference there isnt really compareable, as both techniques dont feature any lateral movement on the paper... its done via rotating mirrors and a refocus lens.
  • drying time? (Score:2, Interesting)

    ok, if it's spitting photos out at that speed, how many of them will be ruined because the ink wasnt dry before the second page landed on top?
  • I'd love to see this move to the 3D (Z Corp [zcorp.com]) printers for a very fast print cycle.

    I also like this technology over color laserjet printers for FPO (first page out) speed. Cost will have to be another factor, hopefully it will be much cheaper than laser color toner.


  • "Instead of having a print head that moves side to side like current inkjets, the print head spans the full width of the page, containing 70,400 nozzles in the A4 version"

    Head cleaning in progress - Please wait.

    Print nozzle check pattern.

    Head cleaning in progress - Please wait.

    Print nozzle check pattern.

    Head cleaning in progress - Please wait.

    Print nozzle check pattern.

    Head cleaning in progress - Please wait.

    Print nozzle check pattern. ...
  • by Pollux (102520) <speter.tedata@net@eg> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:44AM (#18442331) Journal
    My reasons for being skeptical:
    1. From the article: The cheap A4 desktop printer...is just one of the revolutionary new devices promised by Silverbrook, a company which holds more than 1400 patents, but has never released a product.

      So, they're patent whores for one. According to Silverbrook's website, they were founded in 1994. If you can't bring a product to market after filing over 1400 patents over 13 years, something's not adding up right. How does the business survive for 13 years without a product at market?

    2. From the article: Other products that Silverbrook says will be made possible by the new technology are a $150, desktop photo printer that prints 30 photos per minute (shown in the video above). This is more than 10 times faster than all existing desktop products, and 2 to 3 times faster than the speediest competitor, HP's new Edgeline printer, which is not available in a retail product for ordinary consumers.

      So, HP, a huge corporation that's been in business for 68 years, resources and research labs that make you drool, can't figure out how to make an inkjet printer that prints a photo every two seconds, then a tiny little David-of-a-company, who's never ever made a single product before in their company history, is able to smack the giant down at their own game.

    3. From the video: Things to be skeptical about: 1) You never see any blank paper, so how do you know that the printer is actually printing anything? 2) Each page comes out with ink completely dry and perfect. The ink alone should create at least a little wetness and curling. 3) On the A4 printer, where's the paper tray? I don't see any try in the back, which means it has to curl up from the bottom. But every page comes flat, no curl whatsoever. 4) On the A4 printer, the paper doesn't flop around like paper. It falls perfectly into place, like it has additional weight to it. Rather unnatural for a typical deskjet printer.

    4. From the comment board: "LarryTWorth" writes, I admit, now I'm impressed. All the same, I'm curious to know how the will handle the problem of the ink drying up and blocking the printhead. With such small nozzles, it could be that they will get blocked more easily.

      Magically, two "anonymous" commenters write in reply:

      Interesting thought. But if they can do what they have done do you not think they have already thought of that solution. To spend what they must have spent to develop this, they would not release it only to be blocked by such a simple question as will the ink dry up. Come on world let's embrace the new thinkers and get a positive attitude,

      and, "Thats a good point. If i had to guess, I'd say they'll probably do what the newer HPs do, which is run ink from the cartridges quickly through the print head, then suck it back into the cartridge. On the other hand, clearly this company has a few tricks up their sleeves that HP can't touch, and I wouldn't be surprised if they had some new impressive technology that eliminates that problem, though that seems improbable."

      Amazingly positive for a pair of anonymous cowards. My apologies to both for not "embracing the new thinkers."

    5. If you go to Silverbrook's own website, for having such marvelous new technology, I'm amazed to see how empty the website is, devoid of any real depth of information other than these new technologies that they herald. Plus, the company's headquarters are in Australia of all places. Any mates out there in New South Wales who care to check out this address for us: 393 Darling Street, Balmain NSW 2041 Australia ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FlynnMP3 (33498)
      My reasons for being less skeptical:

      1) The company was formed at the early cusp of when businesses and lawyers started to realize that patents are the new way to do business. Not releasing a product for nearly 10 years is not surprising either. It is easy to get investors to float the company for that long, especially for a disruptive technology that this promises to be

      2) Just a general statement about those entrenched or established in a market. Why would HP, whose major revenue comes from printers, e
    • by femto (459605)

      Their building on google maps [google.com]

      I've never been able to figure out where they keep all their people. They claim to have hundreds of technical employees. The people I know say they work in Balmain. I gather they are spread across multiple terrace houses (the dominant type of building in the area), yet that seems like an awful lot of people to cram in and terrace houses hardly seem suited to housing labs. Maybe they have a significant lab elsewhere, or contract such work out? Anyone know?

      I think it is

    • by mapkinase (958129) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @09:39AM (#18443081) Homepage Journal
      This is one of the most ridiculous pretentious replies I have ever seen on /.

      I am actually stunned that for this particular subject Digg's discussion (which is "like", usually "amazingly" worse in quality than /.) have more quality to it.

      "Paper not visible". Have you ever seen a printer before in your life?

      "Patent whore". What is wrong with inventing something and selling it to other companies, so OTHER companies make products of it?

      More facts, please, less baseless insinuations.

      BTW, this is the first time I am hearing about this company. Now THAT is suspicious.
    • by steelfood (895457)
      I wouldn't dare vouch for the company, but there are heavier papers out there than the usual 80-100 gsm. Photo paper in particular is much heavier, especially when saturated with ink. We don't know what kind of paper is being used, so we can't say much about these things. As for curling, it actually largely happens with laser printers and not so much with inkjets. The fuser heats up the paper as it is going by and causes the paper to curl. We can only assume they're using ink we know about, so we can't real
  • Is this new? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:45AM (#18442347) Homepage
    Surely this is the old idea of the line printer [wikipedia.org] applied to inkjets. Line printers bashed out a whole line of text at a time, rather than moving a print head from side to side, and are the reason why anything to do with printing in Unix begins 'lp'.
  • by PalmKiller (174161) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:46AM (#18442381) Homepage
    OK, so let me get this obvious marketing monster straight. They are re-inventing the old mainframe line printer (dot matrix that printed a line at a time) as a inkjet printer. Thats all well and good, cause all us old timers know that a line printer can really slam out the pages...but the inkjet part is scary. I have enough trouble with the little heads on inkjet cartridges drying out, how have they tackled that real world problem on this full width head? Also since its obviously going to need a new head from time to time, isn't this full width head gonna be much more expensive? If you print a lot of text, I say get a decent laser printer for fast printing and use cheaper standard inkjet for what little color you do. if you print huge amount of color, look at dye sublimation, solid ink or color laser printer. If you print very little, then just get the standard inkjet. IMHO of course.
  • A secretive company (Score:4, Interesting)

    by femto (459605) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @08:59AM (#18442527) Homepage

    Here's an article [smh.com.au] about Silverbrook [silverbrookresearch.com].

    They are located in the inner city suburb of Sydney in Australia. They are also secret to the point of seeming to be paranoid. I know lots of people who have interviewed with them and some employees. You have to sign an NDA just to get an interview with them. A shame really. As the article said, they do high tech stuff, but are so secretive there is little contribution to or cross pollination with the rest of Australia's high tech sector.

    As far as I can tell they do a fair bit of MEMS stuff. A lot of the people they employ are integrated circuit designers. I don't think they are much into Free Software philosophy.

  • The suspicion about this is that it is basically what an Indigo printer does (for those who have managed to avoid working in the print industry so far, Indigo is a full-width A3/11 by 17 inkjet based commercial printer line bought some years back by HP and now sold by them.) The Indigo has singularly failed to conquer the world. It isn't particularly fast for a variety of reasons, it is very expensive indeed (well into 6 digits) and only a few specialist companies seem to want it. It's hard to believe that
    • by swordgeek (112599)
      The problem is that HP hasn't yet recovered from the blight of Carly Fiorina, and is no longer capable of worthwhile R&D. Still, you're right--either this is a complete scam, or it's a significantly different (and cheaper!) technology than what HP has been using in the Indigo.

      Hard to believe that a company without the resources of HP or Xeros can do this, but it'd be neat if they can.
  • One of the biggest problems I have always had with inkjets is them clogging up. I don't print that often, and between prints the ink always dries up and clogs. I have had technicians out to change the heads over several times after not using the printer for a few weeks. Even a normal person who goes on holiday for a few weeks would be screwed.

    70,400 holes sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. If one gets clogged... well, you can waste a few litres of ink running cleaning cycles to fix it.

    In the end, I g
  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@telebod[ ]om ['y.c' in gap]> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @09:33AM (#18442977) Homepage Journal
    Don't announce next paradigm-breaking product just before April Fool's Day.

    Sounds nice but I'll believe it when I see it. How about a print sample blowup?
  • When I worked at Wang in the late 80's, we had a couple of high-speed band printers* the size of chest freezers. They could spew paper at an alarming rate. You had to form-feed past 4 pages to get your printout. It was a remarkable paper waster. A service tech once showed my what happens when you short out the form-feed circuit - a flurry of paper.

    * For you yung'uns, a band printer had a rotating metal band stamped with characters. It spun about as fast as a band saw. It had an ink ribbon
  • People are commenting on the issue of nozzles drying up if you don't use it very often. Assuming they haven't solved that issue, you may not have to replace the entire printhead if a few nozzles go bad. It looks like there are 11 "Memjet" chips in a standard Letter sized printhead (they show a video of the joint between nozzle chips on their website). So perhaps you can replace just one of the chips if that section of the print head goes bad?

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.

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