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September 11, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Newbury, Berkshire-based Qume UK has now launched the CrystalPrint Express 12 page per minute PostScript-compatible laser printer, launched last month in the US (CI No 1,478). Priced at UKP3,750, this new model, which ships this month, will effectively replace the heavy duty Scripten 10 page per minute PostScript model. Whilst the Scripten has only single page input, the Express has dual capacity paper handling and, with its Sanyo SPX-612 print engine – all the other CrystalPrint models are based on Casio LCS-130 liquid crystal engines but Qume has abandoned Casio with this model because it couldn’t provide an engine that would print 12 pages per minute – and its integral 32-bit Weitek XL-8200 controller, it also offers faster processing. It has 31 fully scalable resident fonts in Hewlett-Packard LaserJet II emulation, and in PostScript mode it has 39 fonts as standard plus the capability to support downloadable fonts including Adobe Type 1. It comes with 3Mb standard, expandable to 8Mb. It has AppleTalk, Parallel Centronics, RS232C and RS422 interfaces and is aimed at MS-DOS micros, the Mac and Unix machines.


Since older personal computers don’t support PostScript, it is designed to switch instantaneously between PostScript and LaserJet Series II modes. Qume also highlights a higher resolution 600 by 300 dpi, in addition to 300 by 300. Colin Lillywhite, vice-president of Qume Europe, comments that the Express is designed to complement Qume’s traditional position as a supplier of high resolution letter quality printers into the professional text editing and desktop publishing sectors, and also to compliment the CrystalPrint personal range of printers, such as the Publisher. Cost per page on the Express is 1.5 pence, as opposed to the AppleLaser which ranges from 2.2 to 2.5 pence. The Express will be distributed through Qume’s traditional routes, via distributors such as Bytech and Micro Peripherals. Qume doesn’t see itself as having a particular competitor, saying that no other manufacturer offers the same features in Qume’s low price range but, when prompted, Qume says that Kyocera and QMS are rivals in the features they offer, although their prices are on a higher scale. Qume won’t predict how successful the CrystalPrint stands to be in Britain, but boasts that there has already been a ‘great deal of interest shown’ in the US. Since control of Qume was acquired by the Data Technology Corp, Taiwan, in 1988, the decision has been made to take the company private because, in the current US financial markets, it is difficult to raise money to fund research. Thus Qume finalised a liaison with Wearnes Technology (Pte) Ltd of Singapore at the end of last year. Qume maintains that the decision to go private has not been influenced by the fact that the company has suffered mass losses over the last year – it reported first quarter net losses of $1.8m, compared with a net profit of $3.7m last time (CI No 1,472). Qume attributes this loss situation as a general reflection of the state that the computer industry is in at the moment. However, Qume does admit that going private will take away the insecurity of worrying about the performance of its shares in the market, and will facilitate forward planning.

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