Apollo slashes printer prices

Apollo slashes printer prices

Hewlett-Packard subsidiary Apollo Consumer Products is marking a year of selling stylish, sub-$US100 colour inkjet printers by taking prices to a new low; with rebates, one new model sells for $19.

The Apollo P-2250 sells for $99, but some resellers offer a $30 rebate; if you buy it with a new PC, some resellers offer a $50 rebate. Sign up for six months of premium internet service from Juno Web at $20 a month, and you get an $80 rebate. The Apollo P-2200 sells for an estimated street price of $79 with a printer cable, or $69 without.

That's Apollo's mission: sell inexpensive printers, and do it anywhere people might buy -- even chemists. The company's first printers shipped last April, and it recently passed its goal of selling 800,000 units in a year.

The new printers offer significantly improved printing over the first Apollo units, says Bob Borden, director of marketing.

The P-2200 and the P-2250 have dual-cartridge printing that is common in more expensive inkjet printers, but which is a first for the Apollo line. The original Apollo printers used a single cartridge design, which created black ink by combining the coloured ones. The dual-cartridge technology offers better, more efficient, and cheaper printing, he says. You can also purchase and install an optional photo-print cartridge for more photo-realistic printing.

Colors inside and output

In addition to its colourful output, the P-2200 comes in a colourful shell designed to appeal to home users. The printer is "mist grey with translucent teal accents", according to Apollo.

Software bundled with the P-2200 includes the HP Instant Delivery internet printing application and free internet access through Juno. The P-2250 has the same hardware and basic software as the P-2200 package and also includes the HP Idea Kit with paper samples and the PrintMaster Publishing Suite 4.0 from Mattel Interactive.

Both printers have a one-year limited warranty and 90 days of free technical support.

Both new printers, and previous Apollo printers, incorporate HP printer technology and use HP inkjet cartridges. It's not the latest and greatest technology HP has to offer; the company saves that for its HP-branded printers.

Apollo isn't trying to market its products as right for corporate users or high-end home users who need top-quality or high-volume printing, Borden says. Apollo products should appeal to first-time buyers, those who can't afford more expensive printers, and those who just need the basics and don't want to spend more.

"We appeal to thrifty shoppers," Borden says.

Apollo printers should also appeal to people who want a printer that looks good in the home. It's similar to picking a toaster, he says. People don't always pay close attention to the toaster's specifications -- but they know it will do the job, and they want it to fit with their kitchen.

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