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HP Partnership Brightens Colors

Inkjet users with laser-printer envy take heart. HP and International Paper have teamed to speed the drying time and quality of color output.

The two companies said their ColorLok technology announced today is the result of an R&D collaboration between scientists at both companies. HP-branded paper with ColorLok will be available starting in November.

"Innovating the chemistry of the paper, as part of a total printing system, allows us to deliver unparalleled benefits to our customers, Pradeep Jotwani, senior vice president of supplies in the imaging and printing group at HP, said in a statement.

With its Officejet Pro K550, HP is laying claim to having the fastest desktop color business printer at 33 PPM for color output in draft mode (37 ppm for black and white). In the default or normal mode, speed drops to 12 and 10 ppm, respectively. Low-end laser printers with a four-pass print process are typically much slower. Retail pricing on the K550 starts at $199.

For wider print jobs, the HP OfficeJet Pro K850 color printer offers 13 x 19-inch wide-format printing of color imaging at speeds of up to 24 ppm in black and white and 21 ppm in color. Prices start at $399.

While known for its wide array of printers and imaging solutions, HP has also been looking to make gains in the copier market.

The HP Color LaserJet 4730 is designed to compete against what HP calls the "old guard copier market" with a multifunction system that combines print, copy, scan-to-e-mail, scan-to-folder, analog fax and document finishing (e.g. stapling, collating) in one device.

"Traditional color copiers in the same speed range as HP are priced close to $10,000 and HP is coming in at half that at $4,999," Ann Priede, managing editor of the Hard Copy Observer told internetnews.com.

She added that unlike the 4730, color copiers typically offer 11 x 17 output, but that HP was going after the majority of SMBs that only need letter size.

HP also unveiled ColorSphere toner, which it said offers a 22 percent wider range of colors and up to a 40 percent higher gloss level than previous HP toners.

ColorSphere is specifically designed for HP Color LaserJet printers and is intended to enhance graphics and photo-quality images.

While suitable for laser printing, HP said its General Office and HP Multipurpose paper with ColorLok has additional benefits when used with inkjet printers.

Examples include a reduced risk of smearing with up to a 3X improvement in paper drying, and up to 40 percent darker blacks for bolder, sharper documents.