Demo '97: Compressent turns faxing colour

Guy Kewney reporting live from Demo '97 in Palm Springs, California

While Jfax is busy telling the world that the fax machine is dead, according to Compressent, it's quite the opposite. Booming, in fact, and about to turn colour. ChromaFax harnesses the boom in home colour inkjet printers with clever software to make polychrome compressed versions for fast transmission.

The demo of Chromafax is one of those things which normally makes you say "if only..." because, clearly, the normal shiny-paper fax machine's grey-on-smudge (instead of black on white) hides more than it shows. But the problem has always been simple. You can send a colour fax, but you can't wait while it transmits.

Compressent has got a full page of typical colour print down to a three-minute transmission at 9,600bps using standard PC fax software, plus a free depression module which resides at both ends. Obviously, if you don't have the $70 Chromafax program, you can't transmit colour, but you can receive it.

With 96 per cent of inkjets sold this year predicted to be colour printers, the market is going to be big enough. Look for first product to be shipped after by July.

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