By Harry McCracken | Friday, June 25, 2010 at 5:00 pm
Plastic Logic began talking about building e-readers using its plastic-circuit technology as early as 2000. It began demoing a reader in 2008 and did a full reveal of its QUE ProReader at CES 2010 back in January, saying it would ship it in April at the steep starting price of $649. Then it said it would ship on June 24th. Which was yesterday. Now it’s postponing it “a bit longer” to improve it further, and has canceled all orders.
(The company isn’t saying what exactly it’s trying to improve about the gadget; when I tried one back at CES, I liked the look and feel of the user interface, but found it to be alarmingly sluggish.)
In normal times, delaying an interesting product by a few months might not be catastrophic. But just about everything about e-readers has changed since CES: We’re now in the iPad era, and the best-known dedicated e-readers now sell for under $200. The QUE still has some theoretical virtues–a big screen, long battery life thanks to the use of monochrome E-Ink, a focus on business use that includes content licensed from famous brands, and that slick interface–but it’s tough to imagine it thriving whenever it does appear. Certainly at $$649-$799, and maybe at any price.