Hot on the heels of new wireless multifunctions from Canon and Epson, Kodak has announced two printers that are also Wi-Fi enabled and will compete with those other units. At $199.99, the Kodak ESP 7 All-in-One Printer will be priced similarly to the Epson Artisan 700, while the $299.99 ESP 9 All-in-One Printer goes print-to-print with the Canon Pixma MP980 and the Epson Artisan 800.
Kodak has tried to differentiate its recent forays into the printer market by offering low-cost ink cartridgesfor example, replacing the ink in these ESP printers will cost just $9.99 for black and $14.99 for color. Unfortunately, a recent review points out that the previously released ESP 5 had some poor mechanical design choices that these printers will have to overcome, though print quality had improved over the ESP 3. In its favor, Kodak has added built-in duplexing to both of these units, with the ESP 9 also sporting an automatic document feeder and faxing capabilities.
Of course, in addition to Wi-Fi, the Kodak printers offer an Ethernet port for wired network printing. What's interesting is that the company hasn't been pushing Wi-Fi into its digital cameras (save the older EasyShare-One), which seems like a natural synergy if it wants to stay in the printing game. In any event, the trend is clearly to add wireless networking to all-in-ones at the higher end of the price range; the only question is how soon it will be added to budget multifunctions and then more inkjet and personal laser printers.