Trying to keep pace with plummeting PC prices and penetrate the low end of the printer market, heavyweight Hewlett-Packard has introduced the first colour inkjet printers from Apollo Consumer Products, the company's wholly owned budget subsidiary.
The Apollo P-1200 series of low-priced printers includes a base model, the P-1200, and a value-added unit, the P-1250i. The 1250i comes with a Printable Expressions Select Edition Greeting Card Collection and HP's Instant Delivery Internet printing software.
"The low end of the printer market is exploding," says Mohan Garde, Apollo's general manager. "And it's being driven by the availability of higher-performance, low-cost PCs."
Many industry watchers, however, believe HP missed the boat, noting that the printer giant did not react to market shifts last year. "HP didn't want to participate in the bargain segment until they had to," says Paula Bursley, an analyst with Dataquest's printers group.
But HP believes budget-minded consumers are ready for fun, contemporary product designs. Enter Apollo's P-1200 series: colour inkjet printers that blend bargain-basement prices with cutting-edge form factors.
Available in mist grey and lunar blue with translucent blue accents, Apollo's new P-1200 printers emphasise style over performance. "Our brand statement is 'Great value. In style,' " Garde says.
Apollo is aggressively targeting price-driven, price-conscious consumers, he added.
Despite the company's unflagging adherence to usability, competitive pricing, and flashy form factors, Apollo would be remiss not to leverage HP's renowned commitment to quality.
"Taking a page from Intel's marketing book, the Apollo P-1200 printers will display the logo 'Powered by HP Inkjet technology'."