Sharp has announced the world's first MFPs with a finger swipe touch control interface, as part of its continuing drive to improve productivity. The new MX-2610N and MX-3110N feature a 10.1" control panel, on which users can touch icons then tap, flick or slide a finger to access every document, function and setting. Sharp believes that the technology will revolutionise the way in which people interact with MFPs, just as it did for cell phones.
"This type of control interface is truly intuitive. That's why it has become so popular with other devices," said Marc Brion, product marketing manager for information systems hardware. "You don't need to work out how to do something - just touch the panel and slide your finger. For many people, it will be a very familiar experience."
The MX-2610N and MX-3110N were designed for maximum ease of use and a minimum learning curve. The control screen, for example, with its large, clear text and icons for controlling every single feature and function can be tilted up or down for easy viewing.
Scanned pages can be previewed on the screen as 1 page, 3D or thumbnail images, and entirely controlled by the finger swipe interface. The user simply touches and slides to rotate them, change their order, add or delete pages, and then print, file or distribute as required.
The 'user experience' is fully customisable, too. Individuals can create personalised home screens on the control panel, giving them front page access to the tools and applications they use most often, set against a choice of seven background styles.
Just as finger swipe technology led to an explosive growth in 'apps' for smart phones, its use on MFPs is expected to open the door to an increasingly wide variety of applications and new work habits.
One example is the MFPs' ability to run third party Sharp OSA (Open System Architecture) applications to streamline and automate everyday tasks, such as scanning documents directly to appropriate destinations. But that's just the start. Within months, it will be possible to enhance the new MFPs with full internet access and Cloud connectivity.
Internet access will allow the browsing and printing out web content such as maps, instructions, research material and photos, without the need for a PC. Cloud connectivity will let businesses reach beyond the firewall to run Software as a Service (SaaS) applications developed by Sharp's Technology Partners. Sharp believes that this is the start of a new age for MFPs.
"This is just the first step in the next evolution of MFPs," said Marc Brion. "One day, every MFP will be like this - a hub for using, managing and sharing information across and beyond the enterprise. They'll give you walk-up access to everything, everywhere."