Konica Minolta Multifunction Printers to Support Vista Web Services

Konica Minolta's bizhub multifunctional platforms will now support XPS, a new Windows Vista file format as well as Web Services for Devices, the new Windows Vista protocol.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. announced Feb. 26 that its bizhub multifunctional products, which include printers, copy and fax machines and scanners, will support XML Paper Specification file format as well as Web Services for Devices.

Konica Minoltas bizhub MFP product line provides users with printing, copying and scanning capabilities while also featuring Emperon Print System technology, which offers users common driver interfaces and networking modules.

Bizhubs operating system lets users integrate their scanning and print capabilities to their workflow systems.

"One of our customers, which is a major financial institution, uses a customized control panel that has two buttons to automatically scan mortgage applications and route them to their back and processing system, eliminating the need to fax them," Kevin Kern, vice president of product planning for the Ramsey, N.J.-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., told eWEEK.

The newest addition to Konica Minoltas bizhub, the C550, will allow users to print, scan and copy while printing at up to speeds of 45 pages per minute in color and 55 ppm in black and white. This new printing-copying-scanning platform will support the new capabilities of Windows Vista, XPS and WSD.

"By providing extensive support for the new capabilities of Windows Vista in the early stages of the product lifecycle, we can assure our customers that our product supports their migration strategies," Kern said.

XPS is a new print and display architecture that is part of Windows Vista and allows users to manage their color printing jobs through the use of Konica Minoltas native Windows Vista graphical drivers, an XPS interpreter and support for XPS scanning.

"With XPS and Konica Minolta, customers will enjoy higher fidelity output, with more faithful graphics and color reproduction as well dramatically better printing performance through reduced spool file sizes," Arvind Mishra, senior product manager at Microsoft, told eWEEK.

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"It provides a more accurate rendering of information and better control over color in the printing process," Kern said.

WSD abridges the management and installation of devices on the network and when a new device is installed on a network that supports WSD, Windows Vista will be able to identify the device, install it and make it available to the user.

"The Windows Vista introduction will begin a new cycle of technology refresh and upgrades over the next several years," Kern said.

"Reaction to WSD and XPS has been extremely positive throughout the industry as many printer and scanner vendors have announced support and have been actively working with Microsoft on these technologies," Mishra said.

Availability of the XPS support and WSD support will start in the second quarter of this year and roll throughout most of the bizhub product line within the next six to nine months.

Cost is included in the MFP and printers, which range in price from under $1,000 to over $30,000 depending on configuration.

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