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Hewlett-Packard launches feature-rich range of Photosmart inkjet All-in-Ones for the home and small office

Issue #0928/1 – In a typically wide-ranging product launch, Hewlett-Packard has redefined part of its inkjet All-in-One strategy in a new effort to simplify the customers’ decision-making and overall buying experience. The new Photosmart range attempts to remove the worst of the numbers in the nomenclature (partially and for now, at least), instead setting clear product levels – Photosmart AiO series; Photosmart Plus AiO series; Photosmart Premium AiO series. Deskjets still adorn the wider product range and there are two new models there also – Deskjet F2400 and Deskjet F4500.

Unfortunately, even at the outset, it has proved impossible to remove model numbers completely and will certainly prove more impossible as time goes on. However, the principle is to define the level of printer according to intended use and this solution works well for that purpose. This means that, overall, Hewlett-Packard inkjet printers/AiOs run up the range as:

  • Deskjet – home users for occasional printing of general documents and photos
  • Photosmart – home users printing a wide range of documents, including lab quality photos and everyday documents such as letters and schoolwork.
  • Photosmart Plus – as above but including ‘creative projects and more’.
  • Photosmart Premium – for busy home users looking for wide-ranging connectivity and functionality.
  • Officejet – featured for micro and small offices with relatively low print volumes
  • Officejet Pro – featured for busy small offices with low to medium print volumes

So, focusing on the new Photosmart, home-oriented category, we find the list of new models launched is as follows (all featuring USB 2.0 interface), with features adding or changing the range progresses:

  Designation/SKU number Characteristics HP Price
Photosmart C4680 Q8418A/B 29/23ppm
Tri-colour cartridge
TouchSmart frame
USB 2.0
Photosmart C4780 Q8380A
As above but with added:
Wireless interface
Photosmart Series Q8433B
(not US)
As above but with:
4 individual inks
Photosmart Series Q8444B
(not US)
As above but with added:
Wireless interface
Photosmart Plus CD035A/B As above but with:
6.1cm TouchSmart touchscreen
Photosmart Premium CD055A/B 33/32ppm
5 individual inks
8.9cm TouchSmart touchscreen
Direct access
Photosmart Premium Web C309n CD734A
(Not yet available)
As Photosmart Premium but with added:
PC-free Web-printing from touchscreen
Photosmart Premium Fax CC335A/B 33/32ppm
Wired/Wireless Ethernet
50-sheet auto-duplex ADF
Auto-duplex printing
CD/DVD printing
5 individual inks
NB. No touchscreen

Note: Product codes end in an ‘A’ in the US and ‘B’ in Europe.

Hewlett-Packard PhotosmartHewlett-Packard

A number of new features make their debut in this series of devices, perhaps the most immediately visible being the TouchSmart frame in the low-end Photosmart models, followed by a 6.1cm and 8.9cm TouchSmart touchscreen in the upper range models.

Hewlett-Packard Photosmart PlusHewlett-Packard
Photosmart Plus

At first glance, one might consider the touch frame to be something of a nonentity. After all, there is little difference between pressing a button with a label beside it and touching a touch sensitive panel with a label beside it. The difference here is that, because the label is displayed on an LCD screen, it is dynamic – one small touch sensitive panel on the frame becomes a multipurpose user interface. This reduces hardware complexity (and ultimately manufacturing cost), while significantly increasing flexibility, allowing the same screen and frame to be used for print, copy and scan functions as well as management and maintenance options.

Hewlett-Packard Photosmart PremiumHewlett-Packard
Photosmart Premium

As we move to the actual touchscreens, the flexibility increases even more. Hewlett-Packard isn’t the first manufacturer to include a touchscreen with inkjet devices but it is taking the feature on into new areas of functionality.

As most models are network-ready, Hewlett-Packard has seen the potential for direct web access from the touchscreen. Again, not the first manufacturer to introduce this as a feature (Kyocera allows web access through the user interface on TASKalfa MFPs), Hewlett-Packard is (I believe) the first to enable printing direct from the internet using an inkjet AiO touchscreen – thus cutting the PC out of the loop. Hewlett-Packard is certainly the first to enable direct web-connection in a home printer.

Hewlett-Packard Photosmart Premium WebHewlett-Packard
Photosmart Premium Web

It should be made absolutely clear at this point that it is not possible to browse the internet and print from any site you may fancy and the feature is, right now, restricted to the Photosmart Premium Web model (not yet available, pricing only available in the US). The feature relies on specific partnerships with web site owners where there may be a particular benefit from the feature. These will include sites offering services such as mapping, coupons, news and graphics. Some of the partnerships already in place in the US include: USA Today, Google Maps, Nickelodeon and DreamWorks.

But, one of the most immediately exciting partnerships (included, obviously, because it is an HP company), is SnapFish and this feature is available on all of the Photosmart Premium models, not just the Photosmart Premium Web. This feature allows users to browse SnapFish on the AiO and to select and print photos directly from SnapFish – again, without the use of a PC. Powerful feature – see the video for a demo!

Following on closely from the web enablement is the ability to print directly from an iPhone or iPod Touch using a free app from the Apple App store, HP iPrint Photo. This feature is available on all models from the Photosmart Plus upwards. This should prove to be very popular with iPhone owners in particular, as effective printing from any type of mobile phone has been largely ignored too long. Although Hewlett-Packard has worked on phone printing before and Epson has produced Bluetooth versions of printers, nothing has become widely available and frequently used.

Hewlett-Packard Photosmart Premium FaxHewlett-Packard
Photosmart Premium Fax

From the home business or tele-worker point of view, the Photosmart Premium Fax is very well specified, not just with an Automatic Document Feeder to enhance the fax functionality but with an auto-duplexing ADF to match the auto-duplex printing unit. This allows double-sided copies to be made easily, along with faxing double-sided originals without first copying the reverse sides. In addition, it is equipped with both wired and wireless networking and Bluetooth interfaces and has five individual inks to reduce the cost of inks, including a photo black – a real attraction for a machine designed for a busy environment. All models other than the low-end Photosmart C4680 model (and C4780 US) are configured with individual inks.

For photo enthusiasts, ease of use is enhanced by the presence of an auto-engaging photo paper tray on the Photosmart Plus range upwards. Familiarly dubbed “goof-proof photo printing”, perhaps it is not so much the photo enthusiasts that will be most interested in the feature but the very busy and the technically challenged – and especially a combination of the two!

A cost summary and comparison will be handled in a further article but, suffice it to say at this stage, that the new Photosmart All-in-Ones are attractive devices with a high level of specification designed to meet modern users’ needs, with ease of use and convenience in mind.

Regardless of the difficulties of naming conventions, this is a powerful new range of products with inventive new features and capabilities – it is certainly worthy of being set apart with new names.

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