Print is cheap — that's Kodak's message. The company is trumpeting its line of EasyShare inkjet printers that use cheap $10 black and $15 five-color ink cartridges. Using these cheap inks, trumpets Kodak, can cut your printing costs by half — an estimated $329 over three years.
And speaking of trumpeting, Kodak's cheaper-than-thou printers starred in a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice (the one in which Gene Simmons got booted). But you should ignore Donald Trump's trumpeting. Be circumspect and cynical. Kodak's claims of cheap photo printing for all are true, but they're are a bit misleading. More to the point, who cares? Why, exactly, are you printing out so many photos anyway? Click Continue to find out why you shouldn't be.I have a high regard for Kodak. I've read George Eastman's biography, visited the Eastman House in Rochester on a couple of occasions, conducted extensive interviews with Steve Sasson, the Kodak engineer who invented the digital camera in 1975, and got a chance to wander around the Eastman House vault, filled with historic camera gear. Kodak is one of the great founding American tech companies.
But the consumer film business that Kodak invented and dominated for a century-plus has faded like a photo left in the sun, and the company is struggling to be profitable in the digital camera business. So Kodak is developing (pun intended) a consumer printer business that parallels George Eastman's philosophy: keep it easy and affordable and they will come.
First, these "we save big bucks" contentions are true only when Kodak's print costs are compared to the average costs of other printers. A closer reading of the data says that Kodak prints are only slighter cheaper than those produced by Canon and HP printers.
But all this is beside the point. Who prints 550 color documents a year? And what idiot prints out 150 pictures a year? And if you do, why?
Why? If I want to see my pictures, I fire up iPhoto or launch my screen saver and wax nostalgic viewing my memories on my 20-inch widescreen monitor. Or, I use AppleTV to spark teary-eyed memories on my 50-inch HDTV. If I want to share my pictures, I e-mail a link to where they're stored on some photo cloud server. Why do I need to kill trees and spend money on ink and photo paper for a tiny 4 x 6? And this whole business of longer-lasting prints… If printing is so cheap, when your old print fades, just print out another one. Talk about much ado about nothing.
So why do I have a printer? To scan, copy and fax. Printing is one of my minor multi-functions.
And CNET ranks Kodak's printers far below those from Canon and HP. In my own admittedly unscientific tests, I found documents and photos from my Canon MP830 multi-function printer more colorful than those produced by the Kodak 5100.
An old boss of mine once said there'll be a paperless office when there's a paperless bathroom. But while toilet paper is still an essential restroom accessory, there's a shrinking need for hard copies or for printers that may or may not save you pennies to produce them.