Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who's Afraid of Xerox ColorQube?

The hype was building for weeks about Xerox's substantial breakthrough in the cost of color for the general office. Today at 11:AM in Chicago, Xerox broke the news to the work that we need to use their solid ink multifunctional systems in order to "save the environment" and save money. I'm all about saving money and creating less waste, so I was exciting to see what the hub bub was all about. Late last night I heard it was their solid ink technology that came with the purchase of Textronix many years ago.

So, here's a few didja knows that I found out:

  1. The solid ink in held in a molten state which uses more power than an idle laser printer. Statement from Xerox: "The ColorQube does indeed have to keep its ink heated, said Jim Rise, Xerox vice president in charge of solid ink. Some is kept in a "molten" state, which means using more power than a laser machine when it's idle". So, I ask is this something we need in the office place? Will technicians have to wait for the ink to become solid before they work on the device? Wjat about the waste solid chucks, where do they go?
  2. From what I remember users can't make notes on the image with either a pen or pencil because of the polymeric resin. Does this still hold true for the ColorQube? You see it all the time in the office, paper documents are marked up, notes, scribble, will I not be able to scribble on my print or copies anymore?
  3. Another one from the memory banks and if I'm wrong someone please let me know, when folding color pages with full color the image may crack and peel. I'm about to mail and fold some brochures and the ink will be cracked?
  4. I'm impressed with the ability for the paper drawers to accommodate 80lb cover, very nice.
  5. I also love the embedded help Videos, but why do we need an illuminated paper path? Is it a long paper path, or is it hard to remove jammed paper, or is it illuminated because the system may jam more often, could it be the paper is harder to remove than a laser multifunctional system?

I'm just playing a little devils advocate here, what's the big deal if there is no savings or I only save four percent a month. Go ahead and take a trip to Xerox's cost saving calculator. Put these numbers in 10,000 for total volume, 20% color, your current color cost is .08 per page and your current black cost is .01 (for SMB, this could be a real scenario for them or for a workgroup), and then when the calculator asks to "choose color" enter 100% for expressive color. Select the enter key and Xerox will tell you there is NO savings for this scenario!

So, I tried another, everything was the same as above expect at the last "choose color", I entered 90% for Expressive Color and 10% for Everyday Color, hit the enter key and my savings was $10 per month! So, for my $10 savings what do I get? A system that has a slow First Copy Out Time of 8.1 compared to competitors that are at or under 6.5 seconds, molten ink in the office, copies and prints I may not be able to mark up, and the possibility of color pages that may crack or peel when they are folded. Plus the fact that after you run the calculator there is a disclaimer from Xerox stating that these are representative prices and may not be applicable in your area.

Now, onto the money question who, what or how determines the difference between "Useful Color, Everyday Color and Expressive Color", is this done with software embedded in the unit? If it is whats the break point between the three different tiers, will the ColorQube alert you before you press the print or copy button and tell you which pricing plan your copy or print falls under? I think not. Will the system at the end of the month print a report stating how many pages fell under the different pricing tiers? It's kinda like Xerox is saying go ahead make the copy or print and trust us the software will put you in the right pricing spot. Xerox shows samples on their site, however wouldn't it be nice if the machine told you in advance?

Here's a neat video that was posted on the P4P Hotel today in reference to solid ink, take a look, its very cool and gives some insight in reference to the things you may not know about solid ink.

I'm not sold yet if this will be a game changer, with print for pay pricing coming in at under .005 for black and .05 for color, I see further erosion of cost per page pricing in the mainstream office. I guess you would have to be a big user of a little bit of color to make this work for you. We'll see right!

-=Good Selling=-


kevinmarks said...

Art – Thanks for tuning into the Webcast. I got a kick out of you running the old HP video from last year. Anyway, I thought I would help with some of your questions about solid ink.

Our desktop solid ink desktop printers used to use more energy than laser, but we’ve closed that gap with this product by reducing the melting temperature. Don’t take my word for it, a study by RIT confirmed ColorQube’s product lifecycle requires 9 % less energy and produces 10 % fewer greenhouse gases than comparable laser equipment. And you’re right, the pricing structure won’t be cheaper all the time: if you’re printing low volume and not as much color or don’t truly understand what you’re paying per page now, then you won’t see big savings. But our research shows that 75 % of office documents fall outside of that expressive/full color range. Yes, we have tools to help you more accurately determine what your documents cost before you print – a Document Analyzer will launch soon on and we also have a network assessment tool that can analyze and price every page printed in your office.

Sometimes the truth can be better than watching a HP employee in a bear suit. Check out a video from real life customers talking about how much ColorQube will actually save them:

Thanks for covering the news. Really enjoy your blog.

Art Post said...

Thanx for the repsonse! Yeah, the bear suit was really funny, btw, I didn't even know that this was an HP video (LOL).

As I was writing the piece I thought to myself, why would they have a three tier approach to pricing if they didn't have the data to back it up? Glad you will be launching that and I'd like to see it work. Will a customer have to upload a document in order to find out the pixel and or page coverage?

I'm a down the street guy and I'm still tryin to get my hands around the data that supports 75% of users would not be "expressive color users". I'm out there everyday and I'm not seeing that. Thanx again and good luck with the ColorQube!!

Bruce said...

So is this a step towards Xerox's goal from 2008. Or is Xerox still going to suck every penny of profit out of the Ink Stick Technology.

Xerox 8400 ink said...

I have heard many different sides to the release of the ColorQube and the solid ink technology, but I have not been able to get a solid stand on the situation. I hear the pros and cons and they seem to weigh themselves out, but the problems that are stated by customers take away all the advantages that are gained from the purchase of a solid ink printer. I need to see one in live action and see a printout before I am able to take a side. As an artist I need top quality printouts and I cannot have "crayon like" pictures coming out.