Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Output Devices

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Output Devices

Article excerpt

The Market

According to T.H.E. Journal's recent survey, educators are planning to purchase several types of output devices this year. Approximately $174 million will be spent on black-and-white laser printers, $183 million will be used to purchase color laser printers and roughly $82 million spent on other-types of printers.

The increased demand for color printers on the part of education is important. It reflects a new need for more professional materials as well as education's perception that this "advanced" technology is now affordable. Where color printers were once solely in the domain of large business companies, they have now become inexpensive enough for schools to include in their budgets.

A New Option

While price reduction is one trend, so is smaller size. Color printer manufacturers realize that most users place their printers on standard desktops or printer stands. Therefore the smaller the form factor, the more user-friendly the printer.

Innovations also abound. FARGO Electronics, for example, has taken two related color technologies, wax thermal and dye sublimation, and combined them into one extremely flexible color output device.

Both technologies create high-resolution color transparencies; dye sublimation produces photographic-quality output. Both are also suited for printing images from multimedia resources such as CD-ROM encyclopedias, or to give students hard copies of art work produced via computer.

The Primera Color Printer provides "90% of the features users want," says FARGO's Mark Strobel. "The host computer downloads the code [for the technology of choice] to the printer. Users have to switch the ribbon and paper."

Nearly half the size of typical color printers, the Primera supports Windows, Mac and Amiga platforms. Models are available with both technologies installed, or as wax thermal-only with the dye sublimation offered as an upgrade.

Strobel adds that ink jet technology is becoming very popular. …

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