Hey Scanner Companies, Here's An Opportunity For You
I've owned a flatbed scanner for as long as I can remember; I think my first one was in the mid-'90s, a Mustek if memory serves. It was a tank of a scanner, but for the time, it did a pretty good job. Before that, I owned a grey-scale hand scanner - anyone remember those? You'd have to slowly, and steadily, drag it over the object you wanted to scan. If you twitched, you'd screw up the scan. Now, in 2010, even though I have a multi-function printer/scanner/fax machine, I still own a dedicated flatbed scanner - an HP Scanjet G4050 - because quality scanning is important to me.
But here's the problem: it seems impossible to find a scanner that's larger than 8.5 inches by 12 inches. It's like the companies making these scanners for consumers can't conceive of anyone wanting to scan anything larger than a sheet of paper. For most people, that's true, but there have been several times over the past year that I've needed to scan newspaper articles, old documents, and other items that were wider than 8.5 inches, and larger than 12 inches. 11" x 17" scanners exist, but they cost several thousands of dollars.
In the brutally commoditized world of flatbed scanners, where prices are in the $50 to $60 range to start, why isn't there a scanner OEM that's willing to create a scanner, using consumer-level technologies, that's appropriate for scanning large items? I think a 12" by 12" scanner would be excellent, or even a 15" x 15" scanner. Yes, a device like that is fairly sizeable, but for a certain segment of people, such a device would be extremely useful. I'd personally be willing to pay $300 or $400 for a scanner like that - but no one seems to make one. Why not?