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Which printer technology for me, inkjet or laser?

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Paperless tomorrow?: HP’s latest printers launched last week in Shanghai seem to close the gap between inkjet and laser quality.
Paperless tomorrow?: HP’s latest printers launched last week in Shanghai seem to close the gap between inkjet and laser quality.

Special Correspondent

HP’s new line-up shows both are evenly matched

Shanghai: Inkjet printers are colourful, affordable — but no real match for a laser-based machine in producing sharp prints. Right. Till yesterday maybe, but no longer true. Most lay users will be hard put these days, faced with a pair of prints, to tell which one rolled off an inkjet machine and which was created on a laser printer: each technology has inched closer to the best the other provides.

At its annual showcase of new printer launches here last week, Hewlett Packard had offerings in both types of printers, for almost every application. And they are becoming faster, better — and more affordable all the time. Which means we can soon afford to buy models with features that were being targeted at businesses rather than homes.

Officejet J4580, an inkjet printer which can also scan, fax and copy, offers quality that only lasers could match. The international price is the equivalent of Rs. 5,000. Laserjet CM1312 does all these things, much faster and costs almost three times as much. The most affordable colour laser printer launched (single function) was Laserjet CP1215, based on HP’s new ColorSphere toner which is able to achieve the colour brilliance of the best professional inkjets. The global price is around $ 250. All these printers will be available in India within weeks.

Both print technologies are 30 years or more old. Is it time to think radically about ways of distributing information that go beyond the limitations of paper? Bruce Dahlgren, HP senior vice-president, in charge of the global enterprise printing and imaging business, says engineers in the company’s labs are close to practical realisation of a revolutionary wireless data chip that could transform the way information is stored — and might well make us think again before using paper.

Memory Spot

It is the size of a grain of rice; Called Memory Spot, it can store any thing between 1 and 10 MB of data. These could be pictures or text or sound. Stick one on a postcard and the recipient could wirelessly download at high speed, and look at a wedding video or your holiday photo folder complete with your spoken comments. Used in a wristband, it could carry the entire medical records of a patient in hospital.... the possibilities are endless.

The promise? A less-paper, if not a paperless world tomorrow!


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