It looks like this will be the year in which a 60ppm desktop color inkjet printer for under $500 will finally reach the market. The printer is based on “Memjet” technology developed by Silverbrook Research in Australia. More details about the prototype and the marketing plans for it are here.
It is interesting to think about how this will impact the printing market. What kinds of things will people now print at home or in their offices instead of having a printer do it?
One category that is likely to be affected is low-cost color copying. In my area, several shops do a walk-in business offering color copying at $0.35 a page. My impression is that people are willing to do 20 copies or even 50 copies on their home inkjets, but they turn to the local printer or copy shop if they need a few hundred. Products such as flyers, annual family letters, and church bulletins are in the category that people might do themselves with a 60ppm printer.
On the business side, color handouts and powerpoint slides (now often reproduced commercially or in a CRD) would be a natural fit for a 60ppm device. Internal reports with color charts would be another possibility for desktop printing.
If the quality is good and the running costs are acceptable, this may become a way for marketing departments to print their marketing materials on demand. That would certainly take work away from some commercial printers.
In general, it seems likely that most home and much business color output has the potential to move to a device like this unless the work has one of the following characteristics:
- It is large (the initial Memjet printers will be limited to standard letter-size sheets)
- It requires finishing steps (desktop binding options are very limited)
- There are quality or cost factors that favor using an outside printer
We don’t yet know what the quality will be like, or where consumables prices will be set. It will probably be months before these issues are resolved. But we do have some evidence that the quality could be quite good — one of the target markets that Silverbrook has established for this technology is photo finishing.
So what do you think? If this technology is successful, what impact will it have on the printing business?