Umax Brings FireWire Scanners To Consumers

| Macworld/iWorld Expo
Umax has introduced what they claim is the first FireWire scanner priced for the consumer market. The company has introduced the Astra 6400, a flatbed scanner that includes the ability to scan slides and negatives. While it works for both Macs and PCs, the company will be showing the product at MACWORLD Expo. According to Umax:

UMAX Technologies, Inc. today announced the first scanner to utilize fast FireWire/IEEE-1394 connectivity for the general consumer and small office/home office (SOHO) markets. The new Astra 6400 with its FireWire interface provides blazing fast scans at up to twice the speed of comparable SCSI scanners. UMAX also released today the Astra 6450, a companion to the 6400 that, in addition to the speedy FireWire connection, includes a built-in universal transparency cover (UTC) for scanning slides and positives and negatives of up to 4"x5" in size. The Astra 6400 and 6450 scan images at 600x1200 dpi (dots per inch) and provide more than four trillion sharp, vibrant colors with true 42-bit internal color. They also provide image scalability, allowing the user to scan and enlarge a wide variety of media. The Astra 6400 and 6450 scanners are compatible with both Macintosh and PC platforms. PC users achieve connectivity through an IEEE-1394 PCI card, which is included with each scanner.

"Having pioneered the use of FireWire connectivity on our PowerLook 1100 professional scanner, the next logical step is to deliver this superb functionality in a consumer product," said Michael Weizer, product marketing manager at UMAX Technologies. "In moving forward, UMAX continues to extend powerful new features at all product price points."

Installation is very simple. With FireWireis hot-pluggability, the user can connect or disconnect the scanner at any time without restarting the system. To further enable productivity right out of the box, the Astra 6400 and 6450 feature a solid package of software solutions including Adobe Photoshop LE image editing software, Caere OmniPage LE OCR for 99% accurate optical character recognition, and NewSoft Presto! PageManager for managing and distributing images and documents. Also included in an e-book format is the full-color, critically acclaimed Scanner Solutions by Winston Steward.

The Astra 6400 and 6450 are "plug and play" devices on systems running Mac OS 9.0 or later, Windows 98SE and Windows 2000. They connect to the host machine through the hot-pluggable FireWire/IEEE-1394 interface. (A FireWire/1394 card is included for use on PCs.) Both models are single-pass, flatbed, color CCD scanners featuring 600x1200 dpi resolution, and a 14-bit/channel analog-to-digital converter for true 42 bit color output. The suggested retail price for the Astra 6400 is $249; the Astra 6450 with built-in UTC has an SRP of $299. An optional UTC is available for the Astra 6400 at an SRP of $69.

The company has not yet added information about the new product to their Web site.

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