Friday, 16 April 2010

In Praise Of Hardware Series... The Multifuntion Printer

The introduction of the new Apple iPad, which we shall look at in a future Blog post, reminds me of another multifuntion device - the All-in-one Printer (or AIO for short). A typical such device is shown above.

An AIO typically perform 3 functions: printing, copying and scanning. The most useful also includes wirefree connectivity. This is a multifuntion device which has peaked in terms of usefulness, ease of use, size and last but not least, price. I picked one of these devices up from Argos the other month for £35. What a bargain!

You'll probably think this is one of the most boring devices around. And you'd be correct. I vowed never to buy a scanner just because it would be used once a year, if that; it would have been a complete waste of space. But the AIO solves that problem straight away. Some of the AIOs have additional facilities like faxing and email. Some have card readers which allow instant preview and print of card images. But in general the add-ons are few and far between and have never proved that popular.

So the multifunction printer is a prime example of a multi-funtion-optimised peripheral that fits into the home and workplace without being noticed because it does the jobs it's designed to do and no more.

In future blog posts we'll look at devices that haven't quite got the balance of functionality over usefulness right.

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