By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Hewlett-Packard continued its foray into the retail printing market with several new inkjet-based systems introduced at the 2008 PMA show.
The firm is offering a self-service print kiosk, a new microlab printer and dry minilab alongside a "studio" system that knits these and other components together for in store photo merchandise creation.
The Photosmart Express station self serve kiosk produces 4-inch by 6-inch prints using HP's Edgeline print technology. It offers speeds of a print every five seconds, the company said.
It accepts the popular flash-memory cards, including select mobile formats, in addition to USB flash drives, optical media and wireless images via Bluetooth. It includes a 48x speed CD burner with 100-disc capacity and an IR barcode scanner.
The kiosks can also accept orders from HP's Snapfish Web site or through its Photosmart Essential software. Consumers input orders on a 17-inch touchscreen.
The unit is supplied with cut sheet paper with a capacity of 3,300 sheets and uses six individual ink cartridges. The Express also supports remote monitoring and reporting.
For more robust printing environments, the firm is offering the ml1000 dry inkjet minilab. The system is capable of print speeds up to 1,500 4- by 6-inch prints per hour with support for up to 15 different sizes from 3.5- by 5-inch to 12- by 18-inch on either glossy or matte papers.
The company will offer a smaller behind-the-counter printer option in the new pm2000e Microlab, which joins the previous Microlab printer. The unit produces 4- by 6-inch prints at a rate of five/second or 700/hour in addition to 5- by 7-inch photos at a 300 prints/hour clip (12 prints/second). It features a bar-code reader and can be tied to an optional "front counter" order station.
The list price was not finalized at press time but was expected to fall near $16,000, said Kalle Marsal, retail solutions marketing director.
The HP Photo Center incorporates the Microlab, Minilab and existing Photosmart Studio systems for in-store printing and merchandise creation — including CD burning, photo-book binding, and film and print scanning. The components can also be integrated with HP's Snapfish photo Web site, allowing consumers to upload images and have them printed in-store.
Retailers can choose from a 19-inch or 17-inch touchscreen ordering station with inputs for the popular flash memory format, USB flash drives and optical discs. Five additional ordering stations can be anchored to a single base configuration, HP said.
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