DeskJet is a brand name for inkjet printers manufactured by Hewlett-Packard Company. These printers range from small domestic to large industrial models, although the largest models in the range have generally been dubbed DesignJet. The Macintosh-compatible equivalent was branded as the Deskwriter and competed with Apple's StyleWriter.
HP developed thermal inkjet technology in 1979 and launched their ThinkJet in 1984, with color following in 1987 thanks to the PaintJet. Launched in February 1988, the HP Deskjet was the world’s first single-sheet, desktop printer. Originally priced at $995, the reliable HP Deskjet featured an average speed of just 2 pages per minute. It was the least expensive non-impact printer on the market at the time it was introduced, when most small non-laser printers were still impact-based and laser printers remained relatively expensive. The first color DeskJet, the 500C, launched in 1991.
Over time, through innovation and large scale production, the price was brought down considerably, being less than half by 1993, by which time inkjet technology and color printing were increasingly popular with consumers and DeskJets had both black and three-color cartridges installed simultaneously.
Today, the HP Deskjet has transformed into a high-speed, lightweight printer with a multitude of features from wireless connectivity to intuitive software and hardware installation for quick and easy setup. Ideal for printing everyday document and photos, current HP Deskjet models print up to 36 pages per minute and are priced as low as $29, with many priced at less than $100.
DeskJets are unusual amongst consumer-level inkjet printers in featuring an inexpensive, disposable print head built into the cartridge itself. This allows consistent print quality since the head is replaced frequently, along with the ink. Under some circumstances it may also reduce the need for frequent head-cleaning cycles, which consume ink. This business model of proprietary cartridges has proven very profitable for HP.
The DeskJet developed into HP's current DeskJet, DesignJet, PhotoSmart and Professional Series printer lines, all of which are based on thermal inkjet technology. The latest photo printers use several shades of ink to produce a wide color range.