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8/28/2007
03:42 PM
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HP Rolls Out Printers, Web Services For Businesses, Consumers

The $300 million marketing campaign accompanying the launch features Gwen Stefani, Jake Burton and Paula Scher.

Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday launched a $300 million marketing campaign to help drive its strategy of leveraging Web-based printing services to get people to print more with HP hardware. Besides launching new services for consumers and businesses, HP also rolled out a host of new printers.

HP's hardware launch included 12 consumer inkjet printers, including five compact photo printers, five Photosmart single-function and all-in-one printers, and two Deskjet models. Three of the products come with built-in touch screens. For small and medium-sized businesses, HP introduced two inkjets, three laser printers, and three scanners, including two flatbeds and a sheet-feed model.

The rollout is a continuation of HP's Print 2.0 strategy announced in May at the company's Imaging and Printing Conference in New York. The strategy is heavily focused on leveraging Web-based services in trying to capture a significant share of the growing number of digital pages printed each year. According to HP, 53 trillion digital pages are forecast to be printed in 2010, creating a market valued at more than $296 billion.

Michael Orasin, analyst for IDC, said HP wants to change its image from a printer company to a printing company that leverages the Web in giving consumers and businesses the services needed to design and build their own materials, from marketing brochures to wedding albums, and then print the content themselves or through a network of professional printers. HP is also launching online communities where people and businesses can collaborate on projects and share ideas.

"They understand everything about printers, so now they're focusing on printing, which is a refreshing approach," Orasin said. "In the long run, obviously, it's going to benefit them, because it all comes down to putting ink to paper."

Orasin said HP's strategy encompasses so much -- printers, the Web, communities, photography -- that it can get "little fuzzy. But once you start thinking about it, and all the opportunities around printing, then it becomes a big game."

In launching its new "What do you have to say?" campaign, HP solicited the help of rock star/fashion designer Gwen Stefani, Burton Snowboards founder Jake Burton, and graphic designer Paula Scher. The Stefani site, geared toward teenagers, gives users the option of mixing their personal content with Stefani's designs in printing greeting cards, CD labels, and paper dolls.

The Burton and Scher sites target small businesses with tools for building a brand and free customizable templates to print business cards, letterheads, and brochures. Printing can be done directly over the Web, or eventually through a network of print service providers.

HP also launched online print communities for consumers and small businesses. Both sites provide tools for users to collaborate on print projects, share ideas, and access tips and how-to information on printing, crafts, and digital photography. In October, HP plans to launch the HP Print Studio, an online service featuring free templates and designs for making greeting cards, letterheads, business cards, invitations, and more.

HP also unveiled Web-based services for vertical industries. For pharmaceutical companies, the HP Smart Labels and Packaging Solution provides a secure serialization process with traceability, tracking, and authentication from the unit level to the pallet level. For architectural, engineering, and construction professionals, HP introduced the online Instant Printing Toolkit 2.0 for in-house printing of construction documents.

In terms of hardware, HP introduced for the high-volume commercial printing market the Scitex XL2200 industrial wide-format printer. The new printer is the first to have HP's piezoelectric print head, called the Scitex X2, which HP claims prints faster and at a lower cost than other similar hardware.

Printer highlights for small and medium-sized businesses include two inkjet printer series -- the Officejet H470 Mobile Printer and the Officejet Pro K8600 Printer. The latter is capable of printing non-color documents at speeds of 35 pages per minute.

HP's three new laser printers for SMBs include its smallest and the most compact model to date, the LaserJet P1005/P1006 series. HP also introduced the multi-function Scanjet N7710 document sheet-feed scanner, and the Scanjet N8420/N8460 flatbed scanners.

For consumers, HP introduced touch screens in one home printer and two compact printers. Touch screens come with styluses for easier photo editing and personalization of photos, album pages, and greeting cards with frames, captions, and graphics. The touch-screen models include the Photosmart A826 Home Photo Center and the Photosmart A626 and A526 compact photo printers. The Photosmart A826 and A626 are expected to cost $249 and $179, respectively, and the A526 is expected to be available for $99. All three are scheduled for release in September.

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