Sharp Enters Low-End Inkjet Market

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NEW YORK -- Sharp introduced the AJ series of inkjet printers, the first units developed in conjunction with SoHo Printing Alliance partners Xerox and Fuji.

The AJ-1800 and AJ-2000 printers -- shipping in October with respective suggested retail prices of $129 and $179 -- are Sharp's first inkjet printers and part of an ongoing effort to flesh out the company's higher-end home office product line, said product marketing manager Laura Blunt.

Sharp believes there is room in the very competitive entry-level inkjet printer market for another player with a compelling product. The primary differentiating factor of the AJ series, Blunt said, is Sharp's Advanced Inkjet Management (AIM) system designed to enhance print quality and save ink.

AIM has four print modes -- draft, normal and best -- but adds the Sharp Special mode.

Sharp Special prints at a high dpi, she said, but only makes a single pass across the paper, saving ink and increasing speed, albeit for a slightly lower quality, instead of the two passes conducted when the best mode is used.

The AJ series can be used with both Windows and Mac computers and have USB and parallel-port connections. The AJ-1800 prints text at 10 pages per minute and color at 6ppm. The AJ-2000 bumps speeds up to 12ppm of text and 10ppm of color.


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