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Printer The Almighty Buck Hardware

Kodak Challenges HP's Printer Sales Model 265

Radon360 writes "Kodak has decided to attempt to buck the trend set by HP by offering low cost printers and reasonably priced ink cartridges. Three of their new printers start at $149, with ink cartridges costing $9.99 for a black cartridge and $14.99 for a five color cartridge. To counter, HP has announced a release of lower-priced cartridges, though with less ink and they are still more expensive than Kodak's. It will be a matter of time to see whether Kodak can upset the practice of ink cartridge extortion."
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Kodak Challenges HP's Printer Sales Model

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  • We can do better (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cyberbob2351 ( 1075435 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:32PM (#18893825) Homepage
    When someone gives me a printer and paper solution that is ink and tonerless, I will be happy.

    Maybe it needs some significant advances in nanotechnology, but imagine a lattice structure precisely "grown" in a chemical bath so an exact mesh thickness. Also, imagine a printer that will somehow rearrange the lattice elements to form some kind of waveguide resonance that will create different color mixtures. Also, imagine a way to easily erase these markings.

    However, it is vital to have some cheap printing solution intended entirely for archival purposes only, and certainly this should be write-once, permanent as possible (to survive any civilization-earasing holocausts that require evidence for extraterrestrial archaeologists), and incredibly cheap.

    Maybe the best solution is to mix and match the usage and need of printers, in particular make an LCD screen dominated workplace and operating systems so documents needed only on a temporary basis can be phased out. We print out too many damned flyers and memos.

    Oh yeah, and save the trees, and all that jazz.....
  • Re:About time! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:35PM (#18893847)
    Hear hear!

    In their defence, you'd be rudderless too if you were a buggy-whip manufacturer after the Model T was introduced. The multi-mexapixel camera made them pretty obselete, but it is good to see them move this direction, especially since HP have turned into such a bunch of wankers. It's a pity about HP too, they used to make such great calculators, I still have my two 32SIIs that I wouldn't trade for any other calculator that I know of. (Yes, I've seen the 33S, it looks like some dorks from the marketing department got a hold of it and mangled it.)

    Back on topic though, this seems like a pretty natural choice for Kodak, I wonder how long they've been planning this, because it's the first I've heard of them in the news since they got out of the analog camera business. It seems like the couple of years that's passed since then would be enough time to come up with a working printer and ink business model and implement it.
  • Re:Expensive! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:35PM (#18893849)
    That's why I buy Epson and generic ink. It costs me $2.50 for black, $2.75/color(3=RGB). That's $10.75 to fully restock the printer. They last just a tad shorter than the OEM due to dry-out, but have excellent quality.

    I believe HPs generally require buying pre-owned cartridges refilled, or refill-kits. I believe it was about $11 for black when I looked it up for a friend.
  • by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:38PM (#18893897)
    If the price difference between Kodak and the remanufacturers isn't that big, who is going to risk f'ing up their printer prints with garbage remanufactured crap when for a very small bit more they could get guaranteed good OEM ink? I know I wouldn't. It's the huge disparity in pricing right now that drives people to take the risk.
  • What a concept... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epp_b ( 944299 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:39PM (#18893901)
    Well, it turns out that building your products in a way that adds value for your customers is better than intentionally creating a way to continually rip them off (ie: building as much of the printer's "brains" as possible into each ink cartridge)! What a surprise!
  • Re:Too bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Thursday April 26, 2007 @08:46PM (#18893981) Homepage
    At BJ's club, canon's 3e cartridges (fairly common) cost about $11 for B&W, and about $25 for all 3 color cartridges.

    Note the color cartridges are discrete, which is slightly cheaper in the long run.
  • Re:Ink prices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:24PM (#18894303) Homepage

    It needs to be bad for everyone. Although I dont understand why anyone even wants Inkjet anymore for anything but a CD label printer.

    Xerox full color lasers are almost $200.00 with a full set of toner carts. I have ran at home for a year now printing at least 5-10 pages a day between and still have not ran the toner below 1/2 yet.

    The bets part, I can shut off the printer and let it sit there for years and turn it on and print right away. Every inkjet would be completely dead as the heads would be clogged and dryed out.

    Yes nest year I will have to pay $300.00 for the high capacity toner cartridges, but then I'll have 4 years of "ink" at that point and will probably throw away the printer before it needs a refill.

    Not bad for a network laser that has a photo quality mode that looks fantastic works with linux as it's a real postscript printer.

    Does anyone even make a postscript ethernet inkjet?
  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @09:50PM (#18894607)
    You just need to be careful to buy a printer with carts that are easily refillable. When I had an HP, it was a little messy. When I had an Epson, it was stupidly messy, bottom fill, poppet valves that leaked, ink all over.
    I now have a Canon and it's rare for me to spill a single drop.

    Lower quality means you've been using crappy 3rd party ink. Buy from a company that formulates ink properly per manufacturer. IMHO good 3rd party inks are at least as good as OEM inks. It's not like the OEMs have some secret process for making ink.
  • Re:Expensive! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <dfenstrate@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:36PM (#18894999)
    The simple fact is that inkjet printing is just a bad idea, no matter what the costs are. It can't compete in any way with laser printing technology, except by using marketing to take advantage of peoples' stupidity and shortsightedness.

    Coming from someone who has a color laser printer at home and loves it, I can't fully agree.

    I may well buy one of these new kodak printers just for printing photos. I'm currently under the impression that you can't get good photo-paper prints from laser printers because they typically melt the glossy emulsion.

    The printer I have is the Okidata 5500 []. It cost $400 after a $200 mail in rebate (which I did get back in a month or two) and I haven't had to replace a toner cartridge yet*.

    They are 'starter' cartridges but I've gone through two or three reams so far on them. Anyway, it can't be beat for copy paper printouts. I just want to print out photos for framing on occasion inkjets seem to do that better.

    Kodak's little program here may mean I actually buy one instead of hitting the kiosks at Walmart or a photo store.

    *Not counting that messy incident when I realized that the toner cartridges are two seperate pieces, and that the 'lock/unlock' switch didn't lock it in the printer, but locked the halves together. That cost me $120 and an hour of cleanup.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:39PM (#18895029)
    You are right. If they don't make much money on the ink, they won't care if people buy it somewhere else.

    Kodak has priced these printers to be profitable on the printer sale alone. Compare the cost of these Kodak printers with similar HP or Cannon printers. The Kodak printers are much higher priced for the same feature set.

    For years the printer market has been driven by the cost of the printer. People want to buy a $49 printer that can do near laser quality text and near lab quality photos and they make their purchase decision based on the price of the box. The printer companies sell the printers at a loss and make up the difference on the ink. People are waking up to the cost of ink and Kodak is trying to exploit it. Kodak is hoping that these people will now buy the printer based on the cost of ink only and not notice the more expensive priter.

    You can give Kodak all their profit up front or you can make installments with HP.

    What we really need is a printer company that wants to go out of business. They could sell the printers AND the ink at a loss.
  • by SythDot ( 995152 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:42PM (#18895065)

    The last HP printer I bought (for "Free") is the last HP printer I will ever buy. Black ink goes for $3000 per litre. Yes, that is not a typo, a 5ml cart cost $15; that's $3 per millilitre or, $3000/litre.

    I don't need to support a company that pulls that kind of crap. Besides, they given rise to the single most common class of spam email, the ink refill spam that inundates my server (more that penis enlargement and erectile dysfunction combined).

  • Re:Expensive! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Thursday April 26, 2007 @10:57PM (#18895281) Homepage
    I have a laserjet 2600n, and can second this, most emphatically. At home, it's plugged into my network, and I've never had a problem with it at all (except for the fact that it seems to do its autocalibration routines in the middle of the night, which can be very startling the first few times).

    Plus, I did the cost per cartridge analysis, and it was half the cost per page of an inkjet printer. Absolutely great. Even if the initial outlay was 399 or so, it was still totally worth it.
  • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Thursday April 26, 2007 @11:47PM (#18895767) Homepage Journal
    One of the things I was left wondering after reading TFA is "But does the Kodak software try to take over my computer and is it a resource hog?" That, not the cartridge gouging, is what made me swear never to buy another HP. I was already saying "cool" about actually buying the printer at a reasonable price and letting the ink be a normal price. If Kodak has decent, non-obtrusive software, I'm thoroughly sold.
  • by ThePromenader ( 878501 ) on Friday April 27, 2007 @03:52AM (#18897339) Homepage Journal
    You're in the exact same situation as I - I'm still using my circa-1996 Epson Stylus Photo EX. Prints super-A3 size, and works like a charm. Some ink-clone companies are lower in quality, but with a bit of research (and perhaps some trial and error) one can find a suitable brand. May I also point you to This earlier Slashdot Article. []

    What it comes down to (for me) is this - since I will never be using any store-bought printer for publication-quality prints, my printer works just fine for all my personal and layout needs. It's when one goes publication-end that one needs to pay more attention. Yet I wonder how much the "big guys" pay for ink?

    The high price of ink cartriges is an abuse, and it is no coincidence that virtually all printers have, until now, followed the same practice at almost the same price level. I'm glad to see that trend break.
  • Re:Expensive! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Friday April 27, 2007 @01:13PM (#18902793)
    On another note, what happened to dot matrix printers. I remember we had a dot matrix printer and the cartdges (ribbons?) were $5 each and laster for well over 1000 pages.

    Dotmatrix was cost effective, but I'm not sure you remember it as well as I do. A ribbon out of the box would last a long time, but contrast would fade. It was ledgeable, but rather quickly wasn't what i'd call presentation quality. A small ribbon would probally do about 300 pages before contrast suffered greatly. Current generation OKI printers claim 4 million characters, which works out to be about 760 pages assuming 80 characters/line and 66 lines, so 1000 to 1300 pages isn't unreasonable.

    But if you remember dot matrix, you must remember tractor feed jams.

    But what happened to them? They are still around. For carbon copy forms they are still quite where it's at. For situations where the amount of data per page is small like with a video rental forum they are still useful as they require squat in terms of prep time, and shoot out a page faster than my inkjet thinks about starting to print. They are not the type of printer you would enjoy using with anything but the built in fonts.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.