From dot matrix printers to inkjet and laser varieties, the home and commercial printing industry has come a long way through the past 25 years. Printers have been evolving for much longer than this, but the digital printing age has catapulted modern printing technology from something slow, expensive and hard to come by into a staple in every home.
1988 and the Digital Printing Age
The printer is undergoing a constant evolution as new technologies become available and older technologies become more cost effective to produce. In 1988, 25 years ago, Hewlett-Packard released the very first DeskJet inkjet printer, bringing the inkjet printer into the home consumer market. From then until now, printers for consumer and commercial applications have come a long way.
The digital printing age peaked between 1984 and 2007. While the first laser printer was available for the desktop computer in 1984 it was not until the inkjet printer became available in 1988 that printers really began to take off for home consumer purposes. The DeskJet inkjet printer offered up by Hewlett-Packard in 1988 retailed for $1000.
1992 through 1995
Hewlett Packard’s LaserJet IIP is the first toner-based laser printer to break the street price barrier of $1000 USD. The company would continue to release revolutionary LaserJet printers including the HP LaserJet 4 in the Fall of 1992 and the LaserJet 4ML in June of 1993.
Hewlett Packard introduced the HP OfficeJet in 1994 as the first all-in-one printing devices made available on the mass market across the globe. This move combined copying, faxing and printing in a single device.
It was not until 1994 and 1995 that color printing became a common trend, though Canon launched a four-color printer in 1992. Hewlett Packard also offered up a color printing option during this year, playing a vital role in the color printing revolution. Epson released a desktop color inkjet printer, the Epson Stylus Color, featuring 720 dpi resolution in 1994. Apple. Apple Computer introduced the Color Laser Printer 12/600PS, US$7000 printer featuring 600×600 dpi printing capabilities and a Canon-based printing engine.
1996, 1997 and Epson’s Foray into Photo Printing
In 1997, Epson offered a 1440 dpi resolution color inkjet printer as well as the Epson Stylus Color Photo, a six-color printer capable of producing photo-quality prints. During this era, Seiko Epson is one of the forerunners in the development of high quality printing technology, offering consumers and industries a chance to print photographs in high color detail. Hewlett Packard also played an essential role in photo printing with the HPPhotoSmart Printer, the company’s first photo-quality inkjet printer.
2000 and the Age of Photo Printing
The first 4″ by 6″ snapshots are printed using inkjet photo printers in the year 2000. From here, digital printing of photographs becomes increasingly readily available. By 2002, archival desktop photo printers are available.
2003 was a big year for printing as well. Kodak introduced the EasyShare LS633 this year, which was the first camera to feature an EasyShare Printer Dock, making it easier than ever to print photographs. Also during this year, Epson and HP launched wireless printing capabilities. The step toward wireless printing would change how computers and printers communicated with one another through time.
In the 2000s, there are several solid manufacturers of printers including Canon, Epson, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Dell did not enter into the printer market industry until 2002, whereas Epson, Kodak and Hewlett Packard had already been present for some time. The focus during this era goes to printing high quality, photo-realistic results quickly and inexpensively.
How Printer Prices Have Changed
The original home consumer printer options were not easy to purchase, easily running multiple thousands of US dollars in price. When Hewlett Packard introduced an inkjet printer for less than $1000, this revolutionized the industry at the time because such a price was unheard of. Laser jet printers during this era ran for thousands of dollars, with some of the newest models in the 1990s running for between US$7000 and US$12000. One of the greatest points of evolution in printing technology has come from how readily available it has become due to price.
Today’s high quality printers available for home computer use run between US$50 and US$300 for faster, higher precision technologies than were ever available before. As new printing technologies are devised, creating new printers becomes cheaper and more cost effective for big name brands and manufacturers. What was once a luxury has now become a necessarily household staple.
The Future of Printing
Today’s modern day printer technology is becoming faster and more reliable while increasing in quality and realism. One of the newest technologies involving printing involves three dimensional printing of objects, and as of 2011, Rolan introduced the first 3D printer available for less than $1000. While back in 1988 you could not print on paper for less than $1000, today it is possible to print and assemble 3-dimensional objects from various materials for the same price, showing just how innovative printing technology has been through the past 25 years. The future is bright for printing, so keep up with the changes at www.inktechnologies.com.