Canon will shift its business focus away from PCs to Internet appliances as the company sees the potential growth in that category possibly overtaking computers.
Peter Bergman, Canon's VP of marketing and customer care, said Thursday that the Internet appliance category is the next big area for Canon, and in much the same way digital cameras helped drive sales in the past few years, Internet appliances will in the future.
"In the next few years there will be tens of millions of Net appliances sold," Bergman said. "WebTV already has a printer attach rate of about 50% with its devices, so the printer and ink consumption potential is enormous."
Canon's LR-1 Internet printer, which will hit Circuit City in two weeks with a $249 suggested retail price, is the first in what will be a family of products dedicated to this market.
Bergman said the category will gain a huge boost when broadband Internet access becomes widely available, and Canon is considering setting up a leasing program with cable dealers who will rent a cable-modem-ready set-top box along with a Canon printer to consumers.