May 1992

NeXT-ready scanners breaking out all over

by Dan Lavin

Hannover, Germany: With introductions by Sharp, Fujitsu, and other vendors at the CeBIT computer show here, the NeXT market is suddenly bustling with scanner offerings. There are now ten companies in the market offering more than 20 different scanner models.

The proliferation of scanners was unexpected at this time because third parties need to write specific software for each scanner, and because the worldwide market for scanners is still small.

NeXT attributes the trend to the clarification of its publishing strategy. "A year ago recruiting hardware manufacturers was much harder, but today our publishing story is much stronger," said Rob Poor, developer advocate for peripherals at NeXT. Poor referred to NeXT's Publishing Environment initiative, which aims to enhance NeXT's presence in the desktop publishing market.

Sharp Electronics GmbH showed a solution developed by reseller Aussteller Edge Systems Schneider GmbH. It includes its EdgeScan software and either a Sharp JX-320 or JX-600s scanner.

Fujitsu Deutschland GmbH showed proprietary scanner soft ware with its Fujitsu ImageScanner, a solution developed by reseller Aussteller Terracom GmbH.

When it comes to scanner performance, it's the software-driver technology that makes the difference. "With the proliferation of scanners on the NeXT, the differentiation is going to be the software that drives it, and perhaps most significantly how that software interoperates with the other parts of the NeXT publishing solution," said Poor.

HSD Microcomputer U.S., the first vendor to offer a scanner for the NeXT, welcomed the new competition. "Glad to have you," said CEO Dave Peter. "Our customers need choices." Peter said he plans to compete on the strength of Scan-X, his scanner software.

The roster of flatbed scanner makers now includes HSD, Canon, Sharp, Fujitsu, Epson, and Nikon, through Second Glance Software. XRS makes a specialized flatbed scanner that handles transparencies and Optotech platform scanners for scanning 3-D objects. Pixelution Limited (U.K.) also has an interface to the popular Hewlett-Packard ScanJet.

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