Ricoh is planning to shake up the UK inkjet market with the launch of its latest printer technology.
The vendor launched its GelSprinters last week, which come hot on the heels of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) Edgeline technology, unveiled in two multi-functional printers (MFPs) last month.
Ricoh UK originally planned to launch its gel-based printers in April 2006, but demand outstripped supply in Japan which meant all of Ricoh’s other territories had to wait for their quota of GelSprinters, with the UK last on the list.
Chas Moloney, Ricoh UK’s marketing director, told CRN: “Ricoh opened a second factory in China so we now have enough GelSprinters available to us. As it’s a new technology VARs should benefit from the consumables as there are no third-party compatible consumables available yet.”
When asked if the GelSprinters would compete directly with HP’s Edgeline technology, Moloney said: “The Gels are aimed more at the small office home office (SoHo) and SME markets, whereas HP’s Edgeline is aimed more at departmental, office environments.”
HP’s Edgeline technology was first unveiled in October when it was used in a range of photo kiosks. Edgeline is an ink-based printing engine designed with printheads that span the width of a page so the paper moves, not the printhead.
Neil Sawyer, HP’s Imaging & Printing Group UK enterprise marketing manager, told CRN: “We do see Ricoh’s Gel as a threat. It is an
indication that Ricoh is looking to broaden its expertise outside of its traditional copier market. However, although it is a new technology I don’t think that it’s that different to what HP and others already offer in the desktop printing space.
“Ricoh is right in that our current Edgeline products are aimed at the larger, departmental type environments, but in time we intend to roll out Edgeline in SME and SoHo solutions.”
Kevin Jones, managing director of VAR Printware, said: “I’m very excited about Edgeline. It is the most significant advancement in printing in the last decade.”
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