Lexmark Plans Slew of Wi-Fi Printers

By Eric Griffith

April 17, 2007

Research told the company that WLANs are perceived as the biggest productivity improvement expected for the next five years.

Out of 12 new inkjet printers coming to market in 2007 from Lexmark , six of them will have built-in 802.11b/g, and two others will offer Wi-Fi as an option.

First out will be the $130 Lexmark X4550 Wireless All-in-One (AIO) -- which promises speeds of 26 pages per minute (ppm) in black and white, and 18 ppm in color, plus copying and scanning via a 48-bit built-in flatbed scanner -- as well as the single-function $80 Z1420 Wireless Color Printer with similar speeds. The $80 X3550 AIO will have wireless as an option. All can handle borderless printouts on full 8.5x11-inch paper, and work with Macs or PCs on the network. All are expected to ship before the end of June.

Lexmark commissioned a study with poll-taker Ipsos, talking to 9,000 respondents in 18 countries in February 2007. They found that 60% of people thought the Internet was the most important contributor to productivity in the last 50 years. And over the next five years, wireless networks will have the most impact (according to 50% of those surveyed). Second to WLANs were improved computer speed (44%) and smart cards (41%).

40% of the 9,000 already have a WLAN at home; 80% of those said it made them more productive due to the mobility they get and the ability to share info between computers and printers. And 53% of those without a WLAN said they plan to get one, especially if they got a "good offer" on one. Even those without a WLAN at home have used them, mostly at the office (54%), at a friend's house (36%), at a hotspot (30%) or at the library (19%).

Further research out today from Info-Tech Research Group finds that in offices at least, wireless is still a "work in progress," as most still have a wired LAN and will continue to do so until there are fewer bandwidth limitations. Two thirds of enterprises are picking the same vendor to do wireless that they used for wired.

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