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Epson targets new line at SMB

New WorkForce and Artisan series are now available from the printer vendor

Epson is trying to parley its past successes with imaging and photo-printing into the small to medium-sized business (SMB) and SOHO markets with the launch of six new printers this fall.

New to Epson’s printer lineup are its WorkForce Series, consisting of two single function and two all-in-one printers for the SMB market, in addition to Epson’s Artisan Series of printers, which consist of two different models designed for households and photo enthusiasts.

Robynne Lee, product manager for Epson’s WorkForce Series, said the SMB market is one that Epson has never played in before.

“Epson has a strong brand in the digital photography, imaging and image quality space,” Lee said. “When we looked at our portfolio, we realized the business segment was one we could really go after because of our experience with image quality output.”

The WorkForce Series of printers, she explains, are ideal for what Epson has coined “micro-businesses,” which she says, are businesses with five employees or less. Where Epson sees the bulk of its market opportunities lying, she says, is in the 0-employee business side of things.

“Zero employees meaning you’re the owner of your business and you’re the single employee,” she said. “It’s a home-based business or a self-employed business. With the WorkForce Series, we hope to empower and help end-users in their businesses.”

In the WorkForce Series, Epson’s flagship product is the WorkForce 600 model, an all-in-one printer that can scan, copy, fax and print documents. The printer also comes with built-in Wi-Fi and wired networking capabilities, along with a 2.5-inch tilt LCD screen. Epson says this model can produce prints at up to 38 pages per minute (ppm) in black and colour, laser-quality black text up to 27 ppm, and laser-quality colour-text at speeds up to 19 ppm.

Similarly, Epson’s WorkForce 500 printer can scan, copy, fax and print photos and business documents. With built-in memory card slots, users are able to call up digital photos and print pictures without having to use a computer. WorkForce 500 can print black and colour documents at up to 33 ppm, and can print 4×6-inch photos in as little as 26 seconds.

The WorkForce 40 printer is a single function printer that also has Wi-Fi and built-in Ethernet networking capabilities. The printer also allows for double-sided printing and can print at speeds up to 38 ppm at the draft speed for black and colour documents.

Epson’s WorkForce 30 printer is geared towards the home office user and comes with dual black ink cartridges. It also comes with built-in double-sided printing capabilities and can print laser quality black text documents at speeds of up to 27 ppm.

The printers in the WorkForce lineup are starting to ship now and should arrive in big box retailers such as Staples, Best Buy, Future Shop, London Drugs, and others beginning next week.

Rounding out Epson’s new printers are its Artisan 800 and Artisan 700 printers, designed for family home users and photo enthusiasts. Chris Sabin, product manager of Epson’s Artisan Series, says the Artisan 800 is Epson’s flagship printer in this series.

“It’s MSRP sits at $299.99 and is designed for the busy household, career-minded professional, and the technology-savvy individual,” Sabin said. “The Artisan 800 printer has a 7.8-inch touch screen, which is the largest touch screen on a consumer printer in the market right now.”

In addition to being able to print photos, the printer can also print, copy, scan and fax documents. With its built-in Wi-Fi and wired networking capabilities, sharing the printer at home with other users becomes easy, he says.

The Artisan 700 printer, Sabin says, is for the user who likes to print photos and be creative.

“Artisan 700 is $199.99 and doesn’t have fax capabilities or an automatic document feeder feature,” Sabin said. “It also has a lower resolution scanner and doesn’t have a touch panel screen.”

Unlike the WorkForce Series which will be available across Canada next week, the Artisan series, Sabin says, will be available through the distribution channel beginning mid-October. While the Artisan 800 printer will be available at the same locations as the WorkForce Series of printers, the Artisan 700, won’t be available at Best Buy and Future Shop.