​Never run out of printer ink with HP Instant Ink

Subscribe to ink for a few bucks per month

One of the main reasons the inkjet printer market failed was the prohibitive cost of the ink. Can HP's new model help? Source: Arnolds Auziņš (Flickr)

One of the main reasons the inkjet printer market failed was the prohibitive cost of the ink. Can HP's new model help? Source: Arnolds Auziņš (Flickr)

According to HP, the two main reasons people don’t use their printers is the cost and running out of ink. HP has come up with a novel solution to the issue with their Instant Ink program.

It’s been running the US for just over a year and HP sees Australia as a logical target market.

Here’s how it works.

When you buy an eligible inkjet printer you can sign up to a monthly plan that covers you for your ink. In the US, $2.95 per month covers you for 50 pages but there are other plans as well. You can buy the subscription either at the point of sale with your printer or later, directly from HP.

Either way, the reseller gets a piece of the action for selling you the printer. So, regardless of how you sign up, HP’s channel partners and retailers don’t miss out on the important recurring revenue that comes from printer consumables.

The cartridges that HP distributes with Instant Ink are higher capacity than the regular off-the-shelf ones. That means HP can hold the shipping costs down as you’ll run out of ink less often. According to HP, there’s a significant saving for you, assuming your estimate of monthly use is pretty accurate. If you only print 10 pages per month instead of the anticipated 50, the economic value shifts considerably.

However, if you don’t use all your planned pages for the month you can roll-over up to a month of use. And you can switch between plans each month, without penalty, if your needs change.

The HP representatives we spoke with suggested savings of around 40 per cent over usual consumable costs were pretty normal.

But for households with school children and small offices, it should be pretty easy to hit the minimum Instant Ink tier of 50 pages. The charging works on page count and not the amount of ink that’s used. In other words, an A4 sized image will cost the same as half a page of black text.

When your ink levels are getting low, HP automatically ships you some new cartridges so you’re not left high and dry in the middle of printing an important report or school assignment.

The program hasn’t officially launched in Australia but our sources at HP say Australia is a very attractive market for Instant Ink and that we could the program arrive sooner rather than later.

There are plan levels for 50, 100 and 300 pages per month with pricing currently set at US$2.99, US$4.99 and US$9.99 respectively. Local pricing will be dependent on exchange rates and what sorts of shipping deals HP can negotiate.

Anthony Caruana attended HP’s printer launch event in Macau as a guest of HP.

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Anthony Caruana

PC World
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