February 6, 2007 5:32 AM PST

Kodak's consumer printers aim to chop ink costs

Eastman Kodak announced a new line of inkjet printers on Tuesday that are geared toward everyday consumers and designed to cut down on ink costs.

The Kodak EasyShare All-In-One machines, as they are called, mark the company's first entry into the consumer market for inkjet printers. Kodak is touting them as "revolutionary," based on their ability to print both high-quality photographs as well as documents while chopping ink costs almost in half.

Kodak's EasyShare All-In-One printers

Citing a study by market research firm InfoTrends indicating that consumers consider the cost of ink and supplies an obstacle to printing documents and photos from home, Kodak has centered its All-In-One line around cutting down on ink costs. The printers use Kodak's own ink, which costs $9.99 for a black-and-white cartridge and $14.99 for a color cartridge.

According to Kodak, an All-in-One printer with this ink will be able to produce twice as many documents or photos as a competitor's printer and ink would at the same cost. The company also sells a "Kodak Value Pack," which it claims will reduce the expense of printing a 4x6-inch photo to 10 cents.

"You are throwing that (technology) away and buying a new one every time you buy one of their cartridges, which is pretty expensive stuff, said Cheryl Pohlman, a marketing director at Kodak. "With our system, we have put that print head right into the printer...so all you have to buy is ink."

She notes that the products close a loop, of sorts, for Kodak, such that customers can now use Kodak services to print in any of the three most common ways: online, at one-stop-shopping machines at retail stores, or at home.

"What we want to do is give people who want to print at home a choice," she said in interview with Reuters. "We believe that this is a profitable business model for Kodak and that for a consumer, it is freeing the way they can print at home."

Analysts, who had been told since late 2003 to look for an inkjet strategy from the Rochester, N.Y.-based company, are already skeptical about how Kodak will be able to compete with companies that have millions of printers sitting alongside personal computers owned by families and small businesses.

"We remain concerned that the up-front costs of establishing an installed base will be high, and that the mature and competitive nature of consumer inkjet requires considerable research and development, and (operating cost) commitments," analyst Shannon Cross of Cross Research said in a client note published in anticipation of the inkjet launch.

Kodak EasyShare All-In-One printers will be sold at Best Buy stores beginning in March and on Kodak's Web site beginning in April.

The All-In-One line consists of three models, all of which have printing, scanning and copying capabilities. The 5100 model ($149.99) is the most basic, with the ability to print 32 pages per minute in black and white or 22 in color, and it can connect to PictBridge-compatible digital cameras for photo printing.

The second model, the 5300 ($199.99), adds a 3-inch color LCD display for photo viewing and cropping, as well as several memory card slots to better enable photo printing without needing to use a PC. The highest-level All-In-One, the 5500 ($299.99), is geared toward the home office "prosumer" market with a built-in fax machine, an automatic document feeder and a duplexer attachment.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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28 comments

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Get Real
What they call cheap I call really really expensive. Since I pay 95 cents each for the ink cartridges that I use in my Canon S9000. But by keeping the print head out of the cartridges they it will be very easy for others to make the cartridges at really good prices and Kodak will at least make money off the printers.
Posted by Tennisace (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get Real
What they call cheap I call really really expensive. Since I pay 95 cents each for the ink cartridges that I use in my Canon S9000. But by keeping the print head out of the cartridges they it will be very easy for others to make the cartridges at really good prices and Kodak will at least make money off the printers.
Posted by Tennisace (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
buyer beware
Consumers can only hope the new AIO printer family is developed, maintained and supported with a different model than is currently in place for the Kodak consumer cameras.

Beware of:

1) Each new Model obsoletes old equipment and supplies. Product changes on a 4-6 month cycle will require different connectors, new expendable supplies that are incompatible with older equipment, etc.

2) When the next model comes out, the expendables for the current model cease to be supplied and supported, therefore you must buy new equipment to continue using the product family line.

3) Windows plug-and-play licensed drivers are not included. Kodak-only drivers are generally specialized and buggy, especially in the first couple of cycles mentioned above.

I speak from experience. I currently have a drawer of 5 consumer cameras at home, none of which are currently in use. Each has various combinations of their own media types, docking stations, docking adapters, batteries, chargers, cords, etc. No single combination is interchangeable with any other combination.

I finally gave up and went to another brand about 3 years ago and have been more satisfied and a whole lot less frustrated.
Posted by justkenl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy solution to cameras
You have a drawer full of unused cameras? And speak of "their own media types?" Well, if any of them use Compact Flash, SD, XD, Smart Media, Memory Stick, etc, etc... then there is no problem at all. Devices to read these cards are cheap, and many support all or at least most of the formats!

I have to question why many people need to print directly from the camera anyhow. Using a computer in between adds so much versatility!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
buyer beware
Consumers can only hope the new AIO printer family is developed, maintained and supported with a different model than is currently in place for the Kodak consumer cameras.

Beware of:

1) Each new Model obsoletes old equipment and supplies. Product changes on a 4-6 month cycle will require different connectors, new expendable supplies that are incompatible with older equipment, etc.

2) When the next model comes out, the expendables for the current model cease to be supplied and supported, therefore you must buy new equipment to continue using the product family line.

3) Windows plug-and-play licensed drivers are not included. Kodak-only drivers are generally specialized and buggy, especially in the first couple of cycles mentioned above.

I speak from experience. I currently have a drawer of 5 consumer cameras at home, none of which are currently in use. Each has various combinations of their own media types, docking stations, docking adapters, batteries, chargers, cords, etc. No single combination is interchangeable with any other combination.

I finally gave up and went to another brand about 3 years ago and have been more satisfied and a whole lot less frustrated.
Posted by justkenl (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Easy solution to cameras
You have a drawer full of unused cameras? And speak of "their own media types?" Well, if any of them use Compact Flash, SD, XD, Smart Media, Memory Stick, etc, etc... then there is no problem at all. Devices to read these cards are cheap, and many support all or at least most of the formats!

I have to question why many people need to print directly from the camera anyhow. Using a computer in between adds so much versatility!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Kokak is on target strategically
Dont count Kodak out just cause you see it as a new player. That would be stupid. Kodak is right about the consumer issues of ink costs and the fat margins are an easy target to attack. The inkjet market is the classic "razor-blade" model...they often literally give you the printer to get the captive ink sales at great gross margins 60-75%. Over the last 5-8 years these margins have gotten even better as the size of the cartridges has decreased without significant increases in volume yield. SO, HP, Epson etc are making even more money. This was done in response to a slowing market as most users had printers or AIOs...so now the units last fewer years, are more cheaply built (all overseas) and they are in a market share battle to get a larger piece of the installed base. The real gains in the market are due to some improved technology from Canon and Epson while HP has slid due to many reasons...Kodak can be a huge threat if it delivers a mchine with good prints, easy to use and install SW, cheaper ink costs/lower cost per page/print and good after sale support.They are keeping the offerings simple which will also help. The average consumer doesnt want to deal with the myriad offerings from HP and the other companies. Its too much work. Kodak still has a pretty good brand, is regarded by consumers as an expert in photos, has technical competence and offers a line of decent consumer friendly cameras which offers bundling oppties. It is a far better marketer than any of the other companies in the space. It understands how to deal with consumers and how to sell to them. HP, Canon and Epson rely too much on their dealers and distribution channels. Their websites and consumer support are a joke.

BTW, I have just gone thru buying a printer and AIO and thats where those comments come from. As a management consultant I tend to research products extensively before buying....trying to get thru the websites for these companies, trying to get info about their products at the Best Buys etc....horrible. In most cases, I new more about the individual machines I targeted than any sales person I encountered. The online info, if you could find it was difficult to unscramble to get to key details. My emails to the 3 top companies regarding specific models were generally answered only by form emails which didnt answer the questions. When I got a "human" response it was generally not a direct answer to my question.
Posted by wadehi (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kokak is on target strategically
Dont count Kodak out just cause you see it as a new player. That would be stupid. Kodak is right about the consumer issues of ink costs and the fat margins are an easy target to attack. The inkjet market is the classic "razor-blade" model...they often literally give you the printer to get the captive ink sales at great gross margins 60-75%. Over the last 5-8 years these margins have gotten even better as the size of the cartridges has decreased without significant increases in volume yield. SO, HP, Epson etc are making even more money. This was done in response to a slowing market as most users had printers or AIOs...so now the units last fewer years, are more cheaply built (all overseas) and they are in a market share battle to get a larger piece of the installed base. The real gains in the market are due to some improved technology from Canon and Epson while HP has slid due to many reasons...Kodak can be a huge threat if it delivers a mchine with good prints, easy to use and install SW, cheaper ink costs/lower cost per page/print and good after sale support.They are keeping the offerings simple which will also help. The average consumer doesnt want to deal with the myriad offerings from HP and the other companies. Its too much work. Kodak still has a pretty good brand, is regarded by consumers as an expert in photos, has technical competence and offers a line of decent consumer friendly cameras which offers bundling oppties. It is a far better marketer than any of the other companies in the space. It understands how to deal with consumers and how to sell to them. HP, Canon and Epson rely too much on their dealers and distribution channels. Their websites and consumer support are a joke.

BTW, I have just gone thru buying a printer and AIO and thats where those comments come from. As a management consultant I tend to research products extensively before buying....trying to get thru the websites for these companies, trying to get info about their products at the Best Buys etc....horrible. In most cases, I new more about the individual machines I targeted than any sales person I encountered. The online info, if you could find it was difficult to unscramble to get to key details. My emails to the 3 top companies regarding specific models were generally answered only by form emails which didnt answer the questions. When I got a "human" response it was generally not a direct answer to my question.
Posted by wadehi (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New Kodak Printes
The price of ink is way out of line - we all know that. If it
accomplishes nothing else, Kodak will shake up the market and
that's long overdue. I've had both Epson & HP printers (right now
I have 2 HPs - the old workhorse 1218 which still works great -
and a newer (oversize prints) 9800 which is the pits. (I
understand it's no longer available - I can see why). I currently
have a Kodak EasyShare camera with dock (a great convenience)
and am very pleased with it. It will be very interesting to see
what Kodak comes up with in the printer line. I - and everybody
else - will be watching...
Posted by Sallie Bailey (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
New Kodak Printes
The price of ink is way out of line - we all know that. If it
accomplishes nothing else, Kodak will shake up the market and
that's long overdue. I've had both Epson & HP printers (right now
I have 2 HPs - the old workhorse 1218 which still works great -
and a newer (oversize prints) 9800 which is the pits. (I
understand it's no longer available - I can see why). I currently
have a Kodak EasyShare camera with dock (a great convenience)
and am very pleased with it. It will be very interesting to see
what Kodak comes up with in the printer line. I - and everybody
else - will be watching...
Posted by Sallie Bailey (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bravo! Kodak!
If Kodak can give us quality printing at a more reasonable price, I'll give them my vote and my printer dollars. Recently I paid almost seventy dollars for replacement ink cartridges for a fine Canon printer. I paid less for the printer than for the two replacement cartridges. Ridiculous!
It is the old story about the safety razor and the blades all over again.
Posted by firing (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bravo! Kodak!
If Kodak can give us quality printing at a more reasonable price, I'll give them my vote and my printer dollars. Recently I paid almost seventy dollars for replacement ink cartridges for a fine Canon printer. I paid less for the printer than for the two replacement cartridges. Ridiculous!
It is the old story about the safety razor and the blades all over again.
Posted by firing (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
CNET: who makes these printers ??
I appreciate the story; are these designed and made by Kodak or are they rebranded Lexmarks, Epsons, Canons?
I hope they have individual ink tanks for the colors or do they use the wasteful 3 in one color concept that requires buying a new color cart when, for example, only the red is gone.
Posted by eeee (672 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Who makes these printers
From I have can obtain from inside Kodak, they spent 3 years designing the printers from scratch. There are two cartridges in each printer. One cartridge is black ink to use for everyday text printing. The other cartridge has 5 colors in it (including black) for color printing. If you go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://1000nerds.kodak.com" target="_newWindow">http://1000nerds.kodak.com</a> which is an official Kodak blog site, they have some of the technical information about the printers. If the printers are of durable construction and have excellent print results as per the Kodak press release, I think I'll hold off on purchasing a new printer until these are available.
Posted by trainlover45 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Who Makes the Kodak Printers
The printers are made by Kodak.
Posted by jisenga (3 comments )
Link Flag
CNET: who makes these printers ??
I appreciate the story; are these designed and made by Kodak or are they rebranded Lexmarks, Epsons, Canons?
I hope they have individual ink tanks for the colors or do they use the wasteful 3 in one color concept that requires buying a new color cart when, for example, only the red is gone.
Posted by eeee (672 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Who makes these printers
From I have can obtain from inside Kodak, they spent 3 years designing the printers from scratch. There are two cartridges in each printer. One cartridge is black ink to use for everyday text printing. The other cartridge has 5 colors in it (including black) for color printing. If you go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://1000nerds.kodak.com" target="_newWindow">http://1000nerds.kodak.com</a> which is an official Kodak blog site, they have some of the technical information about the printers. If the printers are of durable construction and have excellent print results as per the Kodak press release, I think I'll hold off on purchasing a new printer until these are available.
Posted by trainlover45 (2 comments )
Link Flag
Who Makes the Kodak Printers
The printers are made by Kodak.
Posted by jisenga (3 comments )
Link Flag
Kodak's Cliam Doesn't Hold Water
Kodak claims that their printing is 50% cheaper over other brands. The truth is...Kodak is 2.9¢ per page black and 15¢ for a 4? x 6? photo. HP is 4.5¢ per page black and 24¢ for a 4" x 6" photo. Where is the 50% savings. Also, HP offers more features for the same price with 2.4? color graphics display, Digital media card slots -Photosmart Express user interface - HP Photosmart Premier software. Again... where is the 50% savings. Buyer beware!
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Deteriorating products
I always loved HP and bought an HP 9800 about a year ago. It's a dog. A friend bought an Epson recently - it's a dog. These are companies with a rep for quality. Are their products taking a nose dive - as so often seems to happen these days - ('one of the virtues of 'outsourcing'). Kodak, on the other hand, has a reputation to establish in the field of printer production. Will their product be topnotch? One hopes. I just bought one and it's not out of the box yet. We shall see...
Posted by sallieb (3 comments )
Link Flag
Kodak's Cliam Doesn't Hold Water
Kodak claims that their printing is 50% cheaper over other brands. The truth is...Kodak is 2.9¢ per page black and 15¢ for a 4? x 6? photo. HP is 4.5¢ per page black and 24¢ for a 4" x 6" photo. Where is the 50% savings. Also, HP offers more features for the same price with 2.4? color graphics display, Digital media card slots -Photosmart Express user interface - HP Photosmart Premier software. Again... where is the 50% savings. Buyer beware!
Posted by DennyInCary (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Deteriorating products
I always loved HP and bought an HP 9800 about a year ago. It's a dog. A friend bought an Epson recently - it's a dog. These are companies with a rep for quality. Are their products taking a nose dive - as so often seems to happen these days - ('one of the virtues of 'outsourcing'). Kodak, on the other hand, has a reputation to establish in the field of printer production. Will their product be topnotch? One hopes. I just bought one and it's not out of the box yet. We shall see...
Posted by sallieb (3 comments )
Link Flag
 

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