Canon UK Ltd has launched a low-end laser printer and looks for the thing to help secure for Canon a fifth of the European non-impact printer market by 1991. After studying a Dataquest survey that predicted a large increase in the printer market as a whole, and a substantially greater market share for non-impact printers, Canon has calculated that it will need to increase sales in this area by a factor of seven to attain the target 20% share. As such, the new LBP-4, which as the name suggests is a four page-per-minute printer, is billed as a volume laser product that will sell because it combines wide functionality with compactness and portability. The world’s smallest fully scalable laser printer, as the Wallington, Surrey-based division of Canon Inc describes the machine, is built around the new Canon LX engine – also used by Hewlett-Packard Co in its new low-end LaserJet IIP (CI No 1,262) – and prints at the industry standard of 300 dots per inch; it incorporates the 32-bit graphics microprocessor variant of the NS32000 developed jointly with National Semiconductor Corp, which deals with the graphics and scalable fonts. The 512Kb memory can be enhanced by up to 2Mb with additional slot-in expansion boards, necessary for Raster graphics and for the more refined scalable font functions. The first copy out speed is 33 seconds, compared with 21 seconds for the old LBP-8 III, and the basic 50-sheet handling ability can be augmented with an optional 250 sheet cassette tray. The disposable toner cartridge has been reduced in size to A4 paper width, and yields 3,500 pages – slightly less than the LBP-8. Like the LBP-8, it uses the CaPSL III page description language, pitched between PCL and Postscript in terms of features offered; internal fonts include Courier, Symbol and scalable BitStream Swiss and Dutch fonts, with a number of Integrated Circuit font cards also available – all of these fonts being fully scalable. Canon also says that software houses are developing device drivers for packages such as WordPerfect 5.0, Wordstar, Lotus 1-2-3 and others. Due out this month, the LBP-4, weighing 22 lbs and measuring 14 by 16 by 8, will sell for a basic UKP1,310: additional memory boards cost UKP450 for the first 1Mb, UKP350 for the second; the toner cartridges will cost around UKP70 apiece, and the additional 250 sheet shelf comes in at UKP150. The printer is expected to be available with full Postscript implementation some time next year – expect a price of around UKP1,500.
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