Printers and printing has never really been a subject of much discussion. Rarely these days do people print documents or pictures, mostly because of price. This is set to change however since Kodak is going to take on the market dominated by HP, and produce a range of Easyshare printers
with toner ink that costs $10 for black and $15 for colour.
Despite the good £:$ rate at the moment, this could mean anything between £5-£10 in the UK. This means 4x6 prints could cost less than 10c or 10p, under half the price of the competition, hopefully sparking some price wars to ultimately benefit the consumer.
Naturally Kodak recommends using its micro-porous photo paper, rather than your generic bulk buy stuff, but the printer also contains MEMS print head and Kodakcolour technology. Since Kodak is traditionally a chemical company, it makes economic sense for them to move their company this way.
The Easyshare printers are designed to be primarily used with Kodak Easyshare cameras, allowing straight forward printing from them.
They will first be available in the states and hopefully soon after in the EU. The basic 5100 is set to be around $150 and is far more than your basic printer: including print, scan, and copy capabilities as well as Pictbridge support. Printing speed is a respectable to 32 black pages per minute and 22 colour pages per minute.
Mid range, the 5300 will cost $200 and includes a three-inch colour LCD on top and memory card slots. This enabled you to negate the use of a PC and allows viewing and cropping of photos directly on the printer.
The 5600 is the top end model at $300 and includes all of the above, plus fax support with automatic document feeder, a slightly smaller 2.4-inch colour LCD display, and a duplexer attachment.
Whilst there is still market alternatives, like cheap monochrome lasers for £50/$100 that generally provide good speed and more printing per toner cartridge, the fact that black cartridges will be sold for $10 might negate this advantage. Although many of our forum users prefer cameras other than Kodak's Easyshare the other features may make it an attractive option. Although it "only" supports up to A4 size paper, printing might become a more viable option again for those of us who find endless reading on a monitor tiresome on the eyes.