Business/E-Business
Commentary
3/10/2011
01:16 PM
Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
Commentary
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Canon Unveils New SMB Laser And Mystery Product

New products break no new ground, but one claims to not be a printer when it clearly is.

New products break no new ground, but one claims to not be a printer when it clearly is.Canon USA has apparently come out with two new monochrome office multi-function laser printers for the SMB market. I say "apparently" because one of them claims to be a copier when the specs clearly show it's a (slightly pricey) MFP.

First is the imageCLASS MF4450 monochrome MFP, running at 24 ppm. with a resolution of 1200 x 600, a color scanning resolution of 600x600 with 24-bit color depth, and a USB 2.0 interface.

The price is $249, which is about right for a printer of that size and speed-with a wireless and Ethernet port. That's not to say that you might be better off without wireless, and that USB 2.0 is fast and simple, but you might miss that Ethernet port for printer sharing.

The toner cartridge costs $82 for 2,100 pages, or 4 cents per page. Three cents would be better, but Canon incorporates the drum with the cartridge, simplifying maintenance.

So far so good. But the same press release mentions the imageCLASS D550 monochrome MFP copier for $299. But the specs show it is just a slightly faster (26 ppm) version of the MF4450, with some scanner-related document management software. So why are they calling it a copier? (Or maybe the MF4450 is actually a stripped down D550, and the latter was built around the USB 2.0 interface, whose high speed and direct connection would be nice if you're involved in serious amounts of scanning.)

There's no immediate answer. Traditionally, in situations like this you call the vendor's product PR people and badger them for an explanation. But Canon is one of those companies that feels that their Web site should be a pure, disembodied, self-contained entity unsullied by connections to the grubby real world. In other words, there's no contact names or phone numbers.

Earth to Canon: climb down from the ladder, and have someone contact me.

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