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Picture perfect? Cover story

Far from being at the end of the line, new technology continues to drive printers onwards. By David Boothroyd.

Such has been the success of the semiconductor industry, we now take dramatic technological advances for granted. But, arguably, one product has seen astonishing improvements, yet has generally been ignored – the printer.
Three decades ago, the typical printer connected to a pc was a monochrome dot matrix: slow, noisy, cumbersome and using paper that had to be stripped of its perforated edges. Today’s colour inkjet and laser printers represent an amazing improvement, not only in their ability to produce superb photographs – unthinkable 30 years ago – but also at extraordinarily low prices, even by the standards of the consumer electronics industry.
Given such progress, surely we have reached a plateau, where further improvements will be relatively minor? Not necessarily. It looks likely that printing is going to see yet more exciting innovations that could match everything that has happened so far.

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David Boothroyd

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