Back in September, thousands of consumers complained to their suppliers that the Aftermarket cartridges they were using no longer worked in their HP printers. It became apparent that a firmware upgrade, sent through to networked printers, caused the problem. At RT Media’s request, HP responded to the issue and admitted that Aftermarket chips used in the remanufacturing process, could have been “unintentionally” impacted as a result. They pointed out that remanufactured cartridges that continue to use the original HP chip may also not work.
As a result, printer firmware upgrades and aftermarket cartridges became a hot industry topic. Interestingly, Apex’s President Jason Wang predicted in the January 2016 edition of Recycling Times Magazine (Issue 70), “We believe that firmware upgrades will potentially bring significant changes within the next three years.”
Chip design and manufacturing experts, Apex, also shared a detailed report on firmware upgrades with RT Media’s audiences. Their analysis of all firmware upgrade announcements on OEM websites identified there were 627 upgrades during 2016—ten of which caused printers to lock out cartridges that used replacement chips.
Detailed information is shown as follows:
Apex’s firmware upgrade center now collects and analyzes the information of all popular printer brands, including HP, Canon, Samsung, Epson, Brother, Dell, Lexmark and Xerox. Despite having to manage a huge database, Apex says it is necessary in order to provide a real service for print consumables companies and their customers. As a result of their work over four years in the research of firmware upgrades and one year in the development of an app, Apex finally launched the “Apex Support” app to provide first-hand information of firmware upgrades to all, totally for free. “Initially, we collected the firmware upgrade information for our own purposes,” Apex developers explained. “But we soon realized printer owners also need that information, so they can be aware of any changes earlier.”
This week, Apex launched an updated 2.1 version of the app to include many additional features, including the UI design, basis functions and the filter tool. Apex claims that by using the upgraded filter tool of the app, users will be able to sort and find the information by printer brands, locations, the types including laser printer and inkjet printer, as well as the date of the firmware upgrades. Also, Apex has added ink cartridge and toner cartridge model codes in order to help customers save the time from doing their own research.
Further, Apex has added a news column featuring firmware upgrades stories in the updated app (version 2.1). This special column will include the summary reports of the firmware upgrades launched by OEMs, aiming to offer customers more comprehensive, first-hand information. Apex will also provide warning messages of each firmware upgrade of each model in the column, helping customers to be more prepared.
Apex says the app is now recognized by many of its customers who tried the app before. “OEMs are using more platforms to fulfill their plans of firmware upgrades. Publishing announcements on their websites is just one way to do so,” added Apex. “The industry used to do the research on its own by reading the information on the OEMs’ websites, but now the industry is asking for more. Apex will share more firmware upgrade information published on other platforms by adding the information in the ‘Apex Support’ app. After the Chinese New Year, we will share more insights in the app itself, including analysis reports of firmware upgrades, forecast reports of the future of printers and firmware upgrades, as well as research reports of new printers.”
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