Dell to Liven Printers

The PC maker, turned printer manufacturer, has been gaining in corporate color printers. Meanwhile it plans to add new features to its consumer models for the holidays.

Dell wants to ride the wave of color—both in photos and corporate documents such as brochures—to greater market share in printers.

The Round Rock, Texas, company, which has been making a run at the printer market since 2003, will emphasize the photo-handling capabilities of its all-in-one inkjet photo printer line for consumers, this holiday season.

Its expected to roll out two new all-in-one inkjet photo printers, which also sport a new look, within weeks, sources familiar with the companys plans said.

Dell Inc., which has been selling printers and marketing flat screen televisions, along with music players and other electronics goods as part of its efforts to grow revenue, is planning a major refresh of its consumer-oriented products in time for the 2005 holiday season.

Its expected to launch the bulk of the line, which includes new Dell XPS-brand Media Center PCs, upgraded Dell DJ music players—including a new flash-based model called the Dell DJ Ditty—as well as several televisions, later this month.

It may not completely fill out the new product lines until later in the season, however.

Dell representatives declined to comment for this story. However, some of the products are expected to be unveiled as soon as next week, while others, including the PCs and televisions, are likely to be discussed at an event New York on Sept. 28.

The event, Dell said in an e-mail to reporters, will be hosted by Michael Dell, its chairman and founder.

Given its goal to quickly grow its printer market share—it sold more than 5 million printers in its fiscal 2005, which ended last January—Dell has said it has been operating the business at or near break-even and offering low-prices on its stand-alone printer models.

It also frequently bundles its consumer-oriented inkjet printers with its PCs for little or no extra cost to customers.

The combined strategy has, thus far, netted Dell market share gains in the United States, according to analysts.

The company says it has also established a base of customers that will return to it to purchase supplies, such as ink.

Given a large enough base of customers, sales of ink, toner and other supplies can be worth millions or even billions in annual revenue.

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