HP today launched into the UK market the LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP M275 with TopShot scanning. While we wouldn’t normally cover any old printer launch, this one is somewhat unusual: the printer features a digital camera mounted on an extendible arm (see above), which enables users to scan or print decent quality pictures of 3D objects – such as gear they want to flog on eBay.
The fact that HP’s new CEO Meg Whitman was formerly CEO of eBay is surely just a co-incidence.
I attended an embargoed demo of the product a few weeks back and the results are impressive – very sharp scans or print-outs of objects placed on top of the scanner bed thanks to the overhead-mounted digital camera.
This version can capture an image of any document up to 216 by 297 mm, A4 (8.5 by 11 in, letter) or any small object. A total of six images are captured per scan or copy – three with flashes from different angles and three in ambient light conditions with different exposure levels — producing virtually glare-free and shadow-free images.
These separate shots are then automatically combined into one seamless image.
Of course you could achieve similar results with a high quality digital camera but the advantage here is that the image is immediately available to send from the scanner or print out, with no connectivity hassles. It’s also possible to remove the background from the image right on the printer, so if you want a pic of a necklace, for example, without the background then you can do so without resorting to photo editing software.
The device is said to be particularly suited to small businesses or individuals who do a lot of small item online sales: "With HP TopShot Scanning you can digitize objects and upload them to the web in one quick step," HP said. "Whether you’re selling jewelry, crafts and collectables, toys, or other small items — HP TopShot Scanning is ready for the job."
It’s possible to scan directly to an online store, store documents and images of 3-D objects online with a supplied Google Docs application, and there’s a Shoeboxed business card app that makes scanned cards easy to organize. Receipts can also be store in Shoeboxed and organized into categories and so forth.
EBay’s former CEO Meg Whitman may have taken the reins after development of the product began, but it’s certainly got eBay written all over it.