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For close to a decade, business-class laser printers have offered limited sales opportunities to solution providers. For the lucky few who can move those printers in volume, meager margins can add up and some revenue can be had. But, those sales often lead to a dead end; sure, a business buys a printer, but whether the VAR will ever hear from that customer again is anyone’s guess. What’s more, many businesses are turning to office-supply companies and mail-order sources to buy what is now considered a business commodity item.

Konica Minolta is looking to change the commodity status of printers with their bizhub and magicolor series of printers.

New this month is the magicolor 8650DN, a business-class color laser printer that is designed to become Konica Minolta’s top offering in its color printer line. While bringing a top-of-the-line printer into existence may be exciting in its own right, the real news here is for the channel.

The 8650DN is destined for sale via the channel and offers a plethora of finishing options and upgrades, along with a service-revenue potential. The unit has the capability to become the centerpiece of printing for most any business environment, which makes it ideal for vertical and horizontal markets. The flexibility of the 8650DN also allows VARs to build vertical market solutions around it and then offer ongoing support for the unit, along with supplies and maintenance.

To further support the channel, Konica Minolta has reworked its partner program to increase revenue opportunities by training VARs to service and maintain printers as part of their marketing effort. The channel program also facilitates the sales of warranty programs, installation services and supplies. Konica Minolta also works with major distributors—such as D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data.

As solution providers know, it takes a lot more than a good channel program to sell a product. It also takes features and capabilities that outpace the competition. Here, Konica Minolta excels; the 8650DN brings performance and innovation to the market that is second to none.

To view a Channel Labs Walk-through of the Konica Minolta 8650DN, click here.

The basic unit offers a 35 page per minute print speed, large format printing and resolution up to 19,200 x 600 dpi. The printing quality eliminates the need to outsource high-quality documents and the large format capabilities support full-bleed tabloid designs, as well as banner-sized pages.

Solution providers can also add advanced finishing options to the printer, including stapling, hole punching and booklet making to truly make the unit replace the offerings from an outside print shop. The benefit here is that businesses can create professional quality publications for pennies a page and that can all be done in-house with the magicolor 8650DN.

The 8650DN’s 1Ghz PowerPC processor further speeds printing and brings a first page out speed of 8.5 seconds (for color) to the unit. Interfaces include a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port and USB 2.0. The unit’s included driver/software suite allows the use of "print boxes," scheduled printing and document storage. The "print boxes" work like user mail boxes, where a print job can be stored on a hard drive in the printer, password protected and then retrieved directly from the printer’s control panel. That feature allows users to store their print jobs until they are physically present at the printer, preventing mixed up print jobs or lost documents.

Print quality is something you have to see to believe. The 8650DN tested made quick work of the Channel Insider’s lab test images. Color coverage and detail was exceptional and the colors were represented accurately and consistently. Prints using the duplex option also exhibited the same excellent quality. Konica Minolta rates the 8650DN for 150,000 page monthly duty cycle and offers a one year warranty.