||HP's first DeskJet printer offered continuous plain-paper printing and industry-standard print resolution.
The HP DeskJet was the first mass-market inkjet printer. Customers
knew its predecessor, the HP ThinkJet, because HP had been first
to market with the inkjet printer, but HP wanted to refine the technology
and produce a better product. The name DeskJet was introduced to
draw a clear distinction from the preceding inkjet printers HP had
The DeskJet offered continuous plain-paper printing and higher
print quality than its inkjet predecessors. At about $1,000, it
was the least expensive non-impact printer on the market at the
time it was introduced. However, HP wanted to bring the price down
even more. By 1993, when HP had achieved enough sales volume to
employ economies of scale, the list price was $365. Customers could
now get a printer that was superior in every way to an impact printer
(such as a dot-matrix printer or daisy wheel printer) for the same
price. And by 1994, the DeskJet offered a color printing upgrade,
creating single-handedly a revolution in color printing.
Perhaps the most significant technological achievement in the early
days of HP's DeskJet printer was the creation of a very inexpensive,
disposable print head that could be built into the ink cartridge
itself. The value and efficiency of a disposable print head is in
its ability to guarantee a consistently high level of print quality
over the entire life of the printer. Competitors offered permanent
print heads, which tended to clog and need replacement.
The DeskJet developed into HP's current Deskjet, Photosmart
and Professional Series printer lines, all of which are based on
thermal inkjet technology.