Panasonic’s Paperless Fax Machine

Jan. 19, 2009

Panasonic has released a new fax machine, which fails to address the significant limitations of the traditional fax machine. Read what people are saying about the latest fax re-invention on the market.

Last year, I pretty much awarded the Lamest Consumer Product title to Netbooks (a.k.a. baby laptops, a.k.a. giant PDA’s). This year’s award for lamest consumer product on the market undoubtedly goes to the “paperless fax machine” by Panasonic.

Panasonic rang in 2009 with its introduction of the new PW608DL, a standalone fax machine marketed as a darling of the green business movement for its “unique” ability to not waste paper. This magical piece of equipment comes standard with an easy-to-use phone keypad and 3.9″ LCD screen for easy fax pre-viewing (because, guess what, you don’t have to print if you don’t want to).

The introduction of Panasonic’s new fax product has re-ignited the Internet age-old debate about fax machines v. PCs, prompting cries of derision from one side of the debate as well as questions like “What’s an email?” or “Who killed the fax?” and statements like “Our clients are too old to use computers” or “We still use fax every day” from the other side.

One completely baffled forum commenter, known only as Darkroom, writes the following: “no no…fax is suppose to die out…no no…don’t do this… ”

Another commenter, Karen G., responds that she was initially excited about the new fax machine until she realized that its capabilities already existed. “It’s called e-mail,” she says.

Still, some others have argued that Panasonic’s new fax machine is not only welcome, but necessary, in the market. Says Terry Thomas, “Faxing is still popular in the Far East due to the many languages which use non-English letters. It’s easier for them to send documents that are translated on the other end.”

Persuasive enough for you? Me either (I’m pretty sure if America has heard of BabelFish, so has Asia). But I’m willing to grant that there are merits to utilizing pre-existing fax machinery. After all, the truly green thing to do would be to donate fax machines to businesses in places without access to higher internet connections speeds and/or to people who could still make use of them, instead of sending these deadly toxin-releasing machines to get ripped apart in developing nations – AND instead of creating new equipment that’s destined for these same recycling plants (read: labor camps) in the future.

Even if you aren’t concerned with saving the planet, you’re probably concerned with your budget, so why spend more of it on new hardware? If you’ve heard of internet fax services, bridge technologies, cloud technologies or whatever you’d like to call them, which route faxes to your email account and help eliminate junk faxes, then the Panasonic PW608DL may not tickle your fancy.

But for some people, people who like old telephone ringtones or VHS tapes, the Panasonic’s standalone fax machine may be worth something after all. Like many things that come from Japan, the PW608DL brings back a nostalgia and a sort of lamentable adorableness that can be properly identified only as kitsch.

Zilker Ventures, LLC is a web publisher that consolidates information and reviews various business and financial products.

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Leo Welder
Zilker Ventures, LLC
(512) 448-9031

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