Samsung takes hands-off approach to Android-powered printer

Samsung is continuing to push into the A3 printer market by launching the MultiXpress 7 multifunction printer, but will leave it to technicians to support the Android-powered machine after installation.

Samsung believes that with the launch of its Android-powered MultiXpress 7 (MX7) A3 multifunction printer, it will be able to bring a point of difference to the $1 billion copier market, which it describes as a mature and "fairly flat and stagnant" market.

However, what the company failed to reveal on its initial introduction of the product is how and who will be responsible for ensuring the attached 10.1-inch Android-powered control touch panel will remain updated. Samsung has informed ZDNet that it will be up to the technicians who carry out the initial installation of the printers.

The situation closely aligns with Intel's Joe Jensen's comments last week that the ability to keep a commercial device inside an enterprise running and keeping a version of Android that is many generations old secure is an issue that needs to be solved, as no entity has yet stepped up to offer commercial support.

"Google is not supporting distribution for non-handsets," he said. "And you see a lot of people across Asia jumping to Android, but they don't have a strategy to have their own OS team, and nobody is offering a commercial distribution for legacy Android."

Aside from the technical support, Samsung has pitched the MX7 as a machine that will give users the ability to access, view, and edit documents on any device, including the printer via the Workspace Cloud, accessible through Samsung's UX 2.0 available on the printer.

Rob Kingston, Samsung Electronics Australia head of print, said the company plans to "close the loop to the on-ramp and off-ramp to digital information".

"When we talk about document management flow, it is about scanning documents into the cloud, authenticating security, and then it's about where are you going to store it: Is it in the cloud or on the network?

"The last piece we're missing is the off-ramp, which is being able to be productive at the device, and pull those documents down again, edit them, which this device allows you to do with the Android tablet, so it closes the loop to the document management life cycle. This is the key differentiator we have.

"It's about employees working smarter at the device; you don't need a PC or third-party device to access the information, you can do it all at the copier," he said.

Kingston added that while there are more mature players in the space, Samsung believes that by doing something "different", it will be able to extend its position in the market.

"For us, it's about differentiating in the market, by doing things differently, which is really around the central hub being on the Android platform, and closing the loop of the document management life cycle by doing things smarter and at the device," he said.

The continued push into the A3 printer market falls under Samsung's wider business strategy to enhance its position in the enterprise space. Todd Lynton, Samsung Electronics Australia business solutions director, believes that while Samsung has been primarily known to be a key player in the consumer space, the company's maturity in enterprise has made "quite a lot of progress".

"The printers are a really important cornerstone that we're building into enterprise, and medium to large businesses, and it really closes that ecosystem," he said.

Lynton said the company's focus on enterprise has been driven by trends such as the rise of the Internet of Things, the consumerisation of IT, and activity-based work. He added that by 2018, more than two thirds of enterprises will have an activity-based strategy.

"We've made a lot of progress with our small business, home office printers through retail, as number two in the Australian market. Really, the last 18 months we've pushed, and we're making really good inroads in the A3 middle to large market, and we're capping that off with the launch of the MX7," he said.

Australia is the first country within Southeast Asia to see the release of the MX7.

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