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Epson Patent Protection

The PictureMate PM 260 and PM 290 will spit out a lab-quality photo in 37 seconds and sport a 3in LCD screen for previewing images. The 290 has Bluetooth built-in for direct printing from mobile phones, and it's available on the 290 via an adaptor. The 290 also has an integrated CD-RW drive for printing from or burning to CD. The PM 260 will have an RRP of £99.99 when it's released in September, while the PM 290 will cost double that at £199.99.

Epson PictureMate PM290

Epson also had a new scanner to add to its range, the V500 Photo. This is significant as it is the first CCD scanner to use an LED backlight at a light source. This brings with it a number of advantages. It has low power consumption, warms up in only one second, consumes less power, and is free from the mercury that conventional CCFL use. It's also safer to scan materials that are sensitive to heat.

Epson Perfection V500

The V500 Photo has a 6,400dpi optical resolution, and features a built-in transparency unit for use with positive or negative film up to medium format. It also boasts a scan to PDF button so you don't even have to mess around with your PC. It also has Digital ICE Technology for removing dust and scratches from films. It will be available from September at an RRP of £199.99.

Epson Patent Protection

One of the most interesting parts of the day was a session with Epson's IP Manager Iain Fryer who answered the questions of why Epson go to the effort of suing companies that make compatible ink cartridges and why it believes that consumers who own Epson printers should only buy Epson ink.

Iain stressed the amount of expensive research & development the Epson put into developing its products and that it takes a long time to go from development to a finished product. As part of that it has developed a large numbers of patents in the areas of the print heads, the software driver, the paper media the ink and the cartridges.

He then explained why it is best for consumers just to use Epson ink in its printers by showing images of corrosive damage caused by third party inks, which reminded me of when my chemistry teacher at school left a tooth in a bottle of coke to show the corrosive effect it can have. Scary stuff...

He stressed that Epson only goes after companies that have explicitly infringed on its patents but that it was committed to hunting those companies down - again scary stuff. That said, he did point out that Epson prides itself on dealing fairy with companies, which is nice.

All in all it was a good show from Epson, and I for one will be looking forward to our Simon's comprehensive reviews to see if Epson's bold claims of print speed and quality across its range are borne out in the real world.

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