Plastic Logic's QUE: Late to the Point of Irrelevance

By  |  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.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    This is like a product from a different time, you are right. For $499, iPad can do *everything*. Books, comic books, video, Web, apps. And it can do it all day long, easy. After a month of much more use than I would even have predicted, I haven’t ever gotten it down to the 20% where you would get a battery warning it it works the same as iPhone. Plugging in at night is no chore at all, especially not when I’m already plugging in my phone at night also. And iPad is fast, not only in responsiveness but also the instant on and the utility of the touch interface.

    The last remaining argument for eInk was the sharpness of some displays, which can be 200 dpi or so. But iPhone 4’s Retina Display with full color, full speed 326 dpi put an end to that argument. Ultimately, the real issue is that most people who are 40 and under prefer LCD to print. They don’t want a nostalgic newspaper experience. And black-and-white was always a dealbreaker. The Web is color, video is color, newspapers are color, and even the majority of the bookstore is color.

    Good riddance to these eInk devices. Sorry for the people at the companies that made these mistakes, but these are just not 21st century devices.

  2. Ben Lee Says:

    This is quite unfortunate news after a week of good news (for readers) from Amazon and BN. The QUE eReader was one of the few devices that many, including myself, were really looking forward to reviewing. It is aimed at a higher-end market and boasts features that reflect that: A very well designed interface, a highly responsive touchscreen keyboard, and a full sized e-ink screen…all ideal for business documents like excel spreadsheets, powerpoint presentations, word documents, magazines, and newspapers. Oddly enough, you can even process email through the QUE. And of course, books naturally become a joy to read on such a fully featured device.

    I’m disappointed that it’s been delayed yet again, but at least they will make sure it is an even better product when they do finally release it. Too much to say here, but I have continued my reaction with some more thoughts on my blog. Please check it out:

  3. Jerome Thomas Says:

    The holidays are here and I'm back shopping for a good eReader, assuming Santa does not have on for me in his sack… Why the delay, there were too many devices like the QUE with end of year release schedules. Like the rest of Corporate America, I'm not an early adopter.

    Now I find out (late) that the project is dead. PThututut!

    That's too bad. This one had real promise, though not so much because of the marketing bullets. It's primary feature was the lack of vendor lock in! The Kindle, The Nook, and The iPad are all Dead on Arrival for me since they all enforce strict controls on my content sources. That's little more than corporate sponsored censorship on my balance sheet. Too bad, all four of these devices had promise. Looks like I'm back to hefting my laptop around and killing trees.

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Que ProReader Nevermore: Plastic Logic Gives Up Says:

    […] 2010: A few days after it was supposed to ship, the Que is delayed “a bit longer.” Ominously, Plastic Logic cancels all pre-orders. (Me: “It’s tough to imagine it thriving […]