For people who use a computer regularly, they have probably heard of the terms firmware and software updates. Beyond recognizing the terms, one may have a difficult time understanding what the terms actually mean.
Firmware Updates on Printers: What Are They?
There is no question that sometimes a software or firmware update on our printers can cause headaches for the user, especially if they use a generic printer cartridge to save on the costs associated with printing.
Nothing is worse than a printer consistently working for a good amount of time with a generic cartridge, only for it to stop working after an update. Let’s explain the differences between the updates and why the manufacturers of printers will use these updates to their advantage.
What is Printer Firmware?
When you buy a printer and want to install it to be compatible with your computer, the program that installed during the first process is the printer firmware.
The firmware communicates with the printer and provides all of the information needed for the printer to be compatible with your PC or Apple computer. How do manufacturers use this firmware to their advantage?
Manufacturers and Using Firmware to Its Advantage
Companies will take all sorts of strategies to garner a profit. One such method is through firmware updates. Take a company like HP, for example.
Imagine how many printers a company like HP will produce over a three year period. Millions of them will be purchased and sold over this period, with firmware being updated with minor tweaks here and there.
After all these years of the printer being on the market, there will be several generic cartridge available for purchase. Although generic, they seem to be working fine with the particular printer’s firmware for a long period of time.
This is great for the consumer because he or she saves money by purchasing generic, all while a company loses out on millions of dollars on potential revenue. This is all great for the consumer as they purchase generic, but then the headache comes with a company like HP decides to act.
They still put out the same kind of printer but the printers going on the market have new firmware installed to combat against generic cartilages being comparable. This will frustrate a user who has had several years of using the particular HP series printer with generic cartridges, only to buy the same series of printer new at the store and realize it is without compatibility with generic cartridge. This forces them to purchase the genuine HP product.
Different from Software Updates
Do your HP printer updates come more frequently than you would expect, and have you ever questioned what exactly is being updated when such updates occur? Software updates are different than firmware updates in the fact that they occur after the printer has been purchased and installed. They often occur when the user doesn’t even notice they are occurring while they can often update automatically.
Like with firmware, generic cartridges will all of a sudden become incompatible after an update to the software. This is another way manufacturers like HP and others that produce printers are slowing down the use of generic cartridges in order to maximize profit.
The future of updates and the ways printer manufacturers will try to slow down the compatibility of generic cartridges and printers is yet to be seen, but one can expect the companies to be crafty in the way they go about it. Nothing is more frustrating than a printer that doesn’t work and having to pay a premium for all of the supplies associated with printing.