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February 27, 1994

COMPAQ “HAS SUPER-FAST, SUPER-FINE COLOUR INKJET PRINTER TECHNOLOGY”

By CBR Staff Writer

There are some hidden treasures in Compaq Computer Corp’s abandoned printer business, notably a new ink-jet technology that is claimed to produce photographic-quality output at dramatically fast speeds of up to 40 pages a minute, PC Week reports – adding that other companies are trying to emulate it For buy it. Compaq is in preliminary stages of selling or licensing its printer assets, and the paper hears that US companies involved in discussions over the ink-jet technology include Digital Equipment Corp. and Polaroid Corp. The technology was developed with MicroFab Technologies Inc of Plano, Texas, and cuts the time an individual ink-jet head requires as it travels across a page by substituting four stationary ink-jet heads positioned in a page-wide array. Speeds can be boosted to 40 pages per minute. It uses a variable-drop technique where the amount of ink dropped on the paper is precisely controlled, the paper says, giving as an example one-sixteenth of a drop of cyan being mixed with a full drop of yellow and a half a drop of magenta to produce a continuous tone. Current ink-jet printers drop a fixed amount of ink on the page but with Compaq’s method, the number of colours possible is astronomically larger than what it is in the conventional thermal ink-jet technique, where a drop is a drop is a drop, the paper was told. The problem at the moment is the cost: where Hewlett-Packard Co charges $500 for a DeskJet, the Compaq printer would have cost nearer $10,000.

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