With the shear number of vendors that show up at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a company usually has to do something pretty flashy in order to get attention. However, Lexmark has won a CES Innovations award (in Computer Peripherals category) for a product, the Platinum Pro905 Inkjet All-in-One, whose best feature is that it can save businesses a nice chunk of change by lowering the standard cost of ink cartridges.
For its top-of-the-line Platinum Pro905, Lexmark cartridges now cost $4.99 for black ink, which equates to about $0.01 per page. The three color cartridges cost $9.99 each, so a replacement for all four cartridges will cost about $35. That's a nice savings over most color inkjets in which four replacement cartridges can typically add up to between $75-$125.
Lexmark said that it heard loud-and-clear from its small business customers that they were tired of paying so much for inkjet cartridges and that they resented the "razor blade scheme" of buying cheap printers and then having to overpay for cartridges.
The cost of the Pro905 itself is $399 retail. The other value proposition is that it comes with a five-year limited warranty.
The device functions as a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine. In addition to Ethernet, it has 802.11n wireless built-in. Lexmark also recently launched an iPhone app called LexPrint that allows iPhone users to print photos directly from their smartphones.
The Pro905 has a 4.3" color touchscreen that includes functionality for Web-connected printer apps, which Lexmark calls SmartSolutions. I've never really gotten the concept of wanting to have apps on a printer (HP has been touting this recently, too). However, in the demo that I got at CES the Lexmark people did a nice of job of explaining that these apps are like macros for common tasks. For example, if you regularly scan documents and then email them to your lawyer or accountant, you can use an app to automate it for you. Just put the document in the Pro905, activate the app, and press a button.
Watch a Lexmark representative explain this functionality and more about the Platinum Pro905 in this video clip that I shot at CES:
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the book, Follow the Geeks.