Canon Launches 12 Printers, Only Needed To Launch 4

Canon followed a stellar camera launch day with an equally ambitous printer launch: 12 printers in all, including two of those cute little compact photo printers, two basic photo printers and eight—no joke—eight all-in-ones. Like I said, ambitious, but here's how it could have done with fewer:

In place of two photo printers, just one, the inkjet-based $179 PIXMA Mini320, would have sufficed. Supporting both inkjet and dye-sub printing is dumb, especially when you're an inkjet leader. Canon just enhanced the Mini320 to print 5x7s as well as 4x6s—something the HP compact photo printers do, but the Epson's still don't.

As far as the new single-function photo printers, the PIXMA iP3500 costs $79.99 and the iP4500 costs $129.99. The demand for these has fallen tremendously in the past few years, thanks to all-in-ones with exactly the same print technology. Still they are good as an additional printer in the house, one specifically for photos. So why not just stick to one with decent inks that is priced somewhere in the middle, at around $100?

All-in-ones are a big deal in the printer biz, but eight? Come on, Canon! I like the flagship office model, the PIXMA MX700, because it's got fax with auto document feeder and it only costs $199.99. Trouble with that is that it wasn't designed for gorgeous photo prints. For that you need the $299.99 MP970 with 3.5" LCD and 7-ink capability, or at least its junior partner, the $199.99 MP610. But why all the cheaper ones? Given the fact that most all-in-ones cost more than $200 a few years ago, do you really think you need two all-in-ones priced below $100?

Let's put an end to this "product spam," you know, building six products when all you need is one. Product spam nearly killed Apple in the 1990s, and fighting product spam is what gives Apple and other market champs an edge now. I am sure there is someone at Canon who can explain the market niche for each and every one of these 12 printers but I still think we're on to something. [Canon Printers]