Destiny’s Future is Computer Chip for Speedy Laser Printers
MILPITAS, Calif. (AP) _ A small startup company hopes to advance laser printer technology with its introduction Monday of a computer chip that could make the machines 10 times faster.
Destiny Technology Corp.’s Raster Image Device Accelerator also is designed to allow a desktop laser printer to render all typographical styles, or fonts, and to precisely copy on-screen graphics.
Laser printers produce the highest-quality reproductions of computer- generated data, text and graphics. They are more expensive than the two other common printer technologies, ink jet and impact.
″Technologically, it’s important,″ Angele Boyd, an analyst at International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass., said of Destiny’s chip. ″Whether it will fly in practical implementation is the question.″
Charles LeCompte, editor and publisher of The Hard Copy Observer, which follows the printer industry from Newton, Mass., said, that if successful, the low-priced chip should ″make lots of money for Destiny.″
″Everybody wants their printer to go faster, especially if they have fancy features that require tons of processing,″ LeCompte said. ″Printers are sometimes overlooked, but this is a good niche market.″
Hewlett-Packard Co. dominates the laser printer industry, controlling about 60 percent of the $3.6 billion market. HP’s LaserJet printers use a speedy microprocessor made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
Apple Computer Inc., which makes the popular Macintosh personal computers and uses Motorola Inc. microprocessors in its laser printers, is No. 2, accounting for up to 20 percent of sales.
The rest of the market is shared by a variety of companies, including ones that Destiny sells to, said Dave Larrimore, Destiny’s marketing director.
″We’re a behind-the-scenes company, but we deal with nine of the top 11 laser printer makers in the world, most of them Japanese,″ Larrimore said. ″Several of them have already incorporated RIDA in their board designs.″
Today, many laser printers are designed for speeds of up to eight pages per minute, while HP introduced a LaserJet printer this year that can handle 17 pages a minute.
But most of those speeds are empty promises; the computer chip ″brains″ inside the machines can’t produce sophisticated graphics and fonts quickly enough, resulting in real printing speeds of one half to two pages per minute, according to analysts.
Destiny’s $35 RIDA chip is capable of producing more than three full text pages a second - if the laser printer could keep up, Larrimore said.
″Usually, there’s a bottleneck when the printer is creating graphics and character images, but we’ll see true speeds of about 20 pages per minute and with the same high quality resolution,″ he said.
Destiny’s chip, which will begin shipping this fall, also is a unique ″open systems″ product that will let laser printers reproduce any software font such as Adobe’s Type 1 in PostScript, HP’s Intellifont and Apple and Microsoft Corp.’s TrueType.
The private company, which sees revenues of nearly $20 million a year, is based in Milpitas. Several Taiwanese-born engineers started it in 1986. Two- thirds of its 80 workers make printer components in Taiwan or Japan.