I don’t know about you folks, but it never thrills me to see innovative small companies sell out to larger ones – especially in the label printer business where innovation is rather rare these days.
So, I was none to happy to learn that Datamax-O’Neil has purchased Source Technologies – especially since we were just starting to develop a relationship with those guys.
Thinking about it though, this might prove to be a good deal for Datamax and for us as a Datamax-O’Neil partner. If nothing else, we should be able to now buy Source Tech printers through one of our favorite Value Added Distributors instead of having to buy direct and work with our best DMX guy. And to be honest, I won’t miss the Source Technologies website with all the stock photos of smiling people all over the place.
The mainstream market for stationary label printers is mature and the products have become commoditized over the last few years. New models from the manufacturers are virtually identical to the previous ones (Datamax’s I-Class Mk II and Zebra’s Xi4 being good examples), just with a few updates mainly to include newer electronics. Pretty boring to be honest!
Source Technologies on the other hand has done some things differently. The company actually started up with a number of former Datamax people and clearly took the I-Class design as the starting point for their own thermal printer.
The Source Tech printer has some innovative features:
- Center justified label path – I’ve been wishing for this from Datamax or Zebra forever
- PCL language – see my Printer Language post
- Colour touch screen interface
- Self loading media
- Near Edge printhead options
When I look at the Source Tech printers, what is see is what the I-Class Mk II should have been, rather than just changing a couple if parts on the original. While it is too late for this, I really hope Datamax-O’Neil embraces the innovations from the Source Tech team and incorporates them into the next generation of Datamax printers (add a little DPL to the recipe of course!) – could be a fantastic product line.
What do you think? Do you see the innovations from Source Technologies finding their way into the mainstream Datamax printers? What about the other products from Source Tech – the laser printers and stuff? How does that fit into the mix (or does it!)?
Who wants a Datamax-O’Neil-Source-Technologies (great name!) printer? You can buy one from us – 603-598-1553 x237. Made in USA too as an added bonus – of course, the deal reduces the number of label printer companies manufacturing in America to one 🙁