Several people wrote to tell me more about the new HP DeskWriter 550C and how it works. The DeskWriter ink cartridge contains the print head in the cartridge itself, which simplifies the double-cartridge design used by the DeskWriter 550C.
The two cartridges, one black, one color, are mounted next to each other on the same carriage mechanism, which allows you to print all four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black - commonly abbreviated CMYK) to on any given row of dots. As we said before, this mechanism improves print quality significantly by printing "true black" rather than the three-color composite that always bordered on brown.
Both cartridges shuttle at the same time, but only one can fire at a time, so the DeskWriter 550C makes two passes over a line if it has to print both color and true black on that same line. The only caveat to this is that HP wanted to prevent the ink from bleeding, so you can't print true black right next to color (with no intervening white space). If you have a black word in a colored box, that black word will be the composite black to prevent bleeding.
Portable DeskWriter? -- Last week we didn't mention Hewlett Packard's announcement of the DeskJet Portable printer for PC-clones. It's a 4.4 pound, 300 dpi inkjet printer that, unlike the GCC WriteMove II, offers an optional $99 50-page sheet feeder. Strangely enough, HP made no mention of a DeskWriter Portable, so I called them and asked if they had any plans for one. The HP rep said that he really didn't know what was might happen, but he'd been getting a ton of calls asking the same question. So there's no telling if we'll see a DeskWriter Portable soon, but I can't imagine that it will be too long given the estimated 425,000 PowerBooks Apple now claims to have sold. If you want to help increase the demand, give HP a call and ask about this printer too.
Hewlett Packard -- 800/752-0900