NEW YORK – Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) Monday unveiled a line of low-cost inkjet printers that aim to match the quality and speed of its laser printers as it seeks to defend its lucrative printer business from rivals such as Dell Inc. (DELL).
"We are introducing a new business printer which will be half the price of comparable laser printers and has substantially lower cost of operation," Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group, said at an analysts' briefing.
He added that HP, which earlier this year hired Mark Hurd (search) as chief executive to replaced ousted chief Carly Fiorina (search), expects to double its printer business in 10 years from about $24 billion in annual revenues currently.
Joshi introduced products at the event designed to deliver high-performance printing for high-volume users, including a home photo printer that can spit out regular snapshots in as fast as 14 seconds.
The briefing, where HP unveiled a range of new products, focused primarily on advancements in printers. HP sells everything from multimillion-dollar computer servers, to both high-end and low-end printers as well as personal computers, handhelds, storage gear, software, and computer services.
The product introduction came as HP rivals Lexmark International Inc. (LMK), Canon Inc. Xerox Corp. (XRX), Ricoh Inc., and most importantly, Dell, mount serious challenges to its printer dominance.
In May, the company said it was making some headway in taking back market share in its flagship printer business. Earlier this year, HP cut about 2,000 jobs in its printing and imaging operation to boost profits amid falling printer prices.
Operating profit margins in the printing business narrowed in the quarter ended in April as rivals cut prices.
Joshi said new technology will prove to be as profitable as current systems, and he expects improved performance to spur users to print more pages and consume more ink, which drive profits.
"Not only are they going to print more, they will print high value pages so the overall usage will be higher," he said at the briefing.
Inkjets are generally cheaper than laser printers, though replacement ink cartridges can be more expensive. Laser units print more quickly and generally offer higher-quality copies.
Joshi had previously vowed to regain lost market share.
Also at the briefing, HP introduced several new digital cameras, and said that Snapfish (search), the online photo service that it acquired early this year, would run the Internet photography systems for drugstore chain Walgreen Co (WAG).
Shares of HP slipped 14 cents to $24.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.