News of HP’s acquisition of Samsung Electronics for $1.05 billion has overshadowed the launch of the company’s first, and long awaited, PageWide A3 inkjet MFPs and its new range of A3 LaserJet toner MFPs developed in conjunction with Samsung.
After failing to crack the $55 billion copier market with its Edgeline (inkjet) and Mopier (toner) A3 devices, HP will be hoping to have more success with its new products and the streamlined channel programmes it announced at September’s HP Global Partner Conference.
HP’s rationale for the acquisition of Samsung, which is expected to close within 12 months, was to ‘accelerate the disruption’ of the copier market. As Samsung, like HP, is weak in the traditional copier channel, despite having made big strides in the last year or so, HP’s appeal will rely heavily on technical innovation.
Indeed, in its announcement HP stated that its aim is to ‘reinvent and replace service-intensive copiers with superior multifunction printing’. As we report on page 28, the simplicity of Samsung’s MFP design, also evident in HP’s new devices, is one of its key selling points.
With the largest print acquisition in its history, HP is not just gaining Samsung’s product range. It is also acquiring more than 6,500 printing patents and a global workforce that includes nearly 1,300 researchers and engineers with expertise in laser printer technology.
HP will have seen the benefits of these resources at first hand when working with Samsung on the development of its 16 new A3 MFPs. These are claimed to provide worldclass print security across devices, documents and data; advanced monitoring based on cloud and big-data analytics to predict service and supply needs; and affordable colour.
HP’s full portfolio of A3 MFPs, including three PageWide platforms and 13 LaserJet platforms with print speeds ranging from 22 to 60 pages per minute, will be launched next year (in Spring and Autumn). They will be available with a range of copierlike finishing options, such as in-cave stapler stacker, hole punch, high capacity staple/ stack and booklet makers, and, in HP’s eyes, uncopier-like fast repair times.
Qualified channel partners will also benefit from HP Smart Device Services, a set of free cloud tools and devicebased sensing capabilities designed to minimise device downtime, for example by anticipating the need to service parts before they fail and by avoiding premature ink and toner replacement.
For fans of HP’s PageWide inkjet technology, which combines fast printing speeds, low energy consumption and very low running costs, the most interesting new launches are the three A3 inkjet devices. Offering A3 output and print speeds of 40-60 ppm (up to 80 ppm in General Office mode), these will compete directly with toner-based MFPs and enable HP to offer a full range of business inkjet devices from the desktop to the corridor.
If HP can replicate in the A3 market the success it has had with PageWide in the A4 small workgroup sector, it really could disrupt the copier market, and it won’t need Samsung’s resources to do so.