Coming up with the new technology however, was by no means a simple merger of inkjet and laser platforms. This is because inkjet and laser printers are fundamentally different in the way each transfers ink/toner to paper. Inkjet printers operate by spraying ultra fine ink through micro nozzles onto paper. The ink is sprayed onto papers by a printhead that travels on a pair of railings, covering the entire width of a piece of paper by zipping left and right repeatedly until the printjob is completed. Throughout the entire printing process, there is no physical contact between the printhead and paper.
In the case of a laser printer, the printing process is vastly similar to a copier. Toner not ink is used and it is transferred onto papers via a combination of heat and roller pressure. The maximum width a laser printer can print is predetermined by the width of drum it houses, explaining why laser printers are also known as page-wide printers - due to A4 sheets being the standard size for laser printers. Due to the drum and the number of rollers involved, laser printers are predominantly larger, heavier than and not as portable as inkjet printers. From a technical point of view, the challenges facing HP in the development of Edgeline then were almost insurmountable.
Conceptualizing the idea to rolling out the first commercial printer with Edgeline technology was a process that consumed no less than four agonizing years. Behind the lengthy time-to-market of Edgeline technology was a major commitment of HP's engineering, material science, imaging science and ink and media chemistry resources. By drawing on its expertise in both inkjet and laser printing technologies, HP was able to combine inkjet and laser technologies to produce Edgeline. This is currently HP's most advanced printing technology to date, offering high performance, high reliability, consistent print quality and low cost of operation. In a way, you could say Edgeline was HP's brainwave to challenge the then status quo and to further ensure it continues to remain as one of the world's leading imaging and printing vendors.