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 user 2005-08-27 at 12:01:00 pm Views: 93
  • #12446

    Canon opts for chip dongles on ink cartridges
    The Japanese electronics group Canon has announced a new series
    comprising 12 models in all of inkjet printers and multi-functional
    devices with new types of ink cartridges. The current types of ink
    cartridges for Canon printers have been retained unmodified from one
    model generation to the next for many years now. Now the new models are
    according to price range to work either with cartridges in which, as in
    the case of those by the manufacturers Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark, the
    cartridge proper and the print head are fused into a combination
    cartridge or with single-color cartridges henceforth equipped with a
    chip for monitoring the level of ink and an LED. Through a number of
    blinking frequencies the latter is to indicate the level of ink without
    a PC being required for the reading.

    So far Canon as the only one among the four important ink cartridge
    manufacturers to do so had dispensed entirely with electronic features
    on all their common types of ink cartridges. With its new ink level
    gauge Canon was aiming above all to help users cut down on the costs
    incurred by misprints that result from the device running out of ink
    during a print run, it says in an official statement by the company.

    What is likely to become more difficult, perhaps even impossible
    entirely, however, is for other manufacturers to offer alternative ink
    cartridges and for empty original cartridges to be refilled. In the
    past Canon had already tried with a string of more or less abstruse
    patent lawsuits to prevent other manufacturers from offering ink for
    its printers.

    The question of whether or not and if so to what degree the application
    of chips in ink cartridges contravenes the so-called EU Directive on
    Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, still depends entirely on
    one’s point of view. In the so-called “Clever Chip Article”  of
    the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) the
    EU parliamentarians specify that “Member States shall take appropriate
    measures so that producers do not prevent, through specific design
    features or manufacturing processes, WEEE from being reused…” Printer
    manufacturers are arguing in unison however that the chips are not
    being inserted to prevent reuse of the cartridges, but exclusively for
    the purpose of allowing users to gauge levels of ink or to ensure print
    quality. To allow the implementation of the original will of the
    peoples’ representatives in Brussels to occur the wording of the
    Directive and of the act incorporating it into German law – the Act
    Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of
    Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ElektroG) – is much too ambiguous
    in both cases.

    To date users of present-day Canon printers do not seem to have
    particularly missed the chips. On the contrary, market observers
    believe that it was the absence of such features and the lower printing
    prices that such a product policy make possible that have made the
    printers of this company enormously popular during the last few years.
    With its approach the company was even able to become market leader, in
    the process dethroning HP, the long-standing number one among inkjet
    printer manufacturers. Among major online shopping and mail-order sites
    its current models iP3000 and iP4000 hog the top sales ranks — with a
    considerable lead ahead of the competition.

    Moreover, a poll conducted by heise online in February confirmed that
    the company’s current consumables concept is extremely well-received by
    consumers. Among owners of printers those with Canon devices were found
    to be the most satisfied by far.