IBM today took the wraps off its Infoprint Color 8, a workgroup laser printer that incorporates self-monitoring functions and remote print-management capabilities.
Speed is still a key element to IBM's positioning of the Infoprint Color 8, with the printer's single-pass design contributing its eight-page-per-minute color printing speed. Single pass refers to the straight paper path through the printer that allows for the printing of full-color sheets in a single pass with minimal paper and mechanical movement within the machine. The Infoprint Color 8's price ($2,699) is also a prominent feature, offering twice the printing speed of many color printers at 8% to 10% above the normal $1,995 to $2,500 price range.
Beyond performance and price, the Infoprint Color 8 also supports the Internet Printing Protocol, an emerging open industry standard for Internet printer access. The Infoprint 8 is also designed to take a proactive approach to printer management, providing IBM's Network Print Manager, a utility for Windows 95/98 and NT that lets users actively monitor printer status as well as control multiple IBM printers in real time. This utility also allows network administrators to remotely install and configure network connectivity options, view the status of a printer, and troubleshoot problems. The Infoprint 8 supports IBM AIX, OS/400 and OS2; Window 3.X/95/98, Windows NT 4.0; Apple Macintosh, Sun Solaris, and other Unix environments.
The color-printing market is growing rapidly as vendors seek to replace their monochrome installed base with color, notes Paula Bursley, senior industry analyst with Dataquest, a Gartner Group company. "Speed will be the key to the Infoprint 8's success, in addition to the fact that it is a reasonably priced solution backed by IBM services," she says. "Dataquest has found that if customers could change one thing about their color printers, it would be their speed."