The eight models, which will be available in February, are all net-new machines, and six of them are suitable for small office and Work From Home environments.
Sharp Electronics of Canada has announced the upcoming launch of eight new A4 printer models, significantly expanding its A4 portfolio. These are all entirely new systems, not refreshes of older models, and there is a clear leaning towards smaller models. All the new models will be available in Canada in February.
The new models include three monochrome multifunction printers [MFPs], the MXB557F, MXB427W and MXB467F. They also include three colour MFPs, the MXC357F, MXC407F and MXC507F, and two monochrome Single Function Printers (SFPs): MXB427PW and MXB467P. Four of these were rolled out in the U.S. several months back, with the rest also being new to the U.S. market as well as to Canada when they become available in February
Sharp’s printing business makes up the majority [about 60%] of their Canadian revenues, but their strength has been more on the A3 side of the house rather than the A4, which prints more standard letter and legal sized paper.
“We’ve always had A4 printers, but we are significantly expanding our portfolio with the launch of these eight brand new products in February,” said Brent Arsenault, Product Marketing Manager (Office Solutions) at Sharp Electronics of Canada. “These are filling new segments. They are not refreshes of any of the existing models. These fill gaps. The mid-volume workgroup is a big focus, especially for the new MFP colour units, with speed ranges of 35 ppm [MXC357F], 40 ppm MXC407F] and 50 ppm MXC507F].”
Arsenault also stressed that most of the new models, excepting really only the 40 ppm and 50 ppm colour MFPs, are also well suited for smaller customers – and the Work From Home market in particular.
“It is fair to say that we are focused on more of the smaller market, with that small footprint, and a certain amount of work from home,” he noted. “It fills that gap for Work From Home, which was part of a larger issue in not really addressing the small or home office, with a focus on larger machines that were more advanced.”
Broadening the portfolio to the lower part of the market lets Sharp dealers sell Sharp products to that part of the market.
“We are trying to work closely with partners to fill that gap they have had,” Arsenault said. “We had been hearing from dealers who wanted something small from us that they can give to customers. Now our brand covers all the segments.”
Arsenault noted that while the timing is good for the Work From Home market, the release has been in development since well before the pandemic began.
“The models we are launching now have been in development for a few years,” he said. “It’s not like we pivoted in the past 7 or 8 months to address this opportunity. But we do have that ability now to fit into that home office environment. More than half the work force now is working from home, and these models let us target that.”
The new models also provide Sharp with models that are more likely to sell well in today’s environment, which is still largely Work From Home in Canada and the U.S., something that is likely to remain for some time given the increase in COVID infection rates in early winter.
“COVID has been creating challenges for us,” Arsenault said. “The model we have is a revenue stream model, particularly around the channel and supplies. That part of the business has declined. In our own office, we have six working MFPs, and with only 5% of the workforce in the office at any time, they haven’t been getting a lot of work. We have seen some positive momentum in the last few months, but it has been specific to more of our rural dealers. The metro areas, particularly Toronto, have been hit hard, both in hardware and in supplies.”
All of the new products provide easy connectivity to popular public cloud services like Box, Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. Mobile printing is supported for Chromebooks and for iOS devices via AirPrint. Users can use MS Office Direct to print from USB drives, or send scanned files directly to USB.