December 1991

Canon color printer engine may be NeXT-bound

by Dan Lavin

Las Vegas: Canon USA introduced a new printer engine at Comdex that may show up in a future NeXT color printer, according to sources.

In October, NeXT CEO Steve Jobs said that NeXT would use Canon color printer technology in a future product.

The new engine uses a bubble-jet ink-on-demand technology. While this method is not new, printers using similar technology typically cost tens of thousands of dollars. Canon printers using the new engine cost under $3000.

The mechanism includes four separate print heads sending between one and thirty-six drops of color at 360 dpi each. This yields one-pass printing and achieves the important goal of continuous-tone color. Also important is the printer's capability to print to plain paper.

Sources contend that 400 dpi is NeXT's minimum design goal for a color printer, which means that Canon would have to produce a special version for NeXT. According to Al Hebert, senior systems analyst at Canon, the engine would require more nozzles to achieve this resolution.

But, Hebert added, operating at 400 dpi and driven by an external PostScript processor, the printers could achieve quality levels required for some final production and service-bureau applications.

At the show, Canon introduced two Canon-branded printers for the PC and Mac, based on the engine.

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