Tag Archives | Plastic Logic Que

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

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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Plastic Logic’s Que E-Reader: Revealed, Finally

Plastic Logic has been teasing us with previews of its e-reader–now dubbed the Que proReader–for sixteen months. This morning at CES, it formally announced the product on the show floor, complete with demos of the final version and full details on features, pricing, and availability.

As Plastic Logic has said all along, the Que is based on its proprietary plastic transistor technology (which allows for a large, lightweight, glass-free display), has a screen the size of an 8.5″-by-11″ piece of paper, uses a touchscreen interface, and is aimed at businessfolk who “need to read” rather than those who read for pleasure. It’s signed content deals with business-oriented media brands such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fast Company (and my old employer IDG), it lets you drag and drop Microsoft Office documents and other business files from your PC to the e-reader, and it has extensive tools for annotating and organizing documents. It also lets you view your Exchange calendar and has a complementary BlackBerry app which lets you transfer files to the Que.

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Plastic Logic’s E-Reader Gets a Little More Real

Plastic Logic logoE-reader maker Plastic Logic has been giving its gadget a fascinating slow-motion rollout. It first showed it to reporters more than a year ago at the DEMO show. Then showed it at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. Then it re-revealed it at the D conference. And now it’s saying it’ll “unveil” it at next January’s CES.

It’s also telling us what the name is for the first time–Que–and has revealed a couple of sexy photos which steer clear of revealing the full monty. (The device has been seen repeatedly in all its full-frontali glory in public, but I’m assuming the final industrial design has been kept under wraps.)

Que

Que

Plastic Logic says it’ll say how much Que costs and when it’ll be available at CES; the company obviously doesn’t have any issues with discussing a product long before it’s available, so it’s not a given that next January’s unveiling is proof positive that the device will go on sale in early 2010.

When Plastic Logic started touting its e-reader, its only real competition were the original Amazon.com Kindle and the Sony Reader. The industry’s undergone radical change since then, with the release of the Kindle 2 (recently further revised) and Kindle DX and multiple new Sonys, Best Buy’s rollout of the iRex, and the apparent imminent announcement of a contender from Barnes and Noble. By the time it shows up, it may even be compared to an Apple tablet.

The Plastic Logic device seems to have evolved in response to all this competition even before it ever shipped–for instance, it’ll have 3G connectivity via AT&T, a feature which the company didn’t mention at first. But the Que’s original signature feature was its 8.5″-by-11″ screen and PDF support, and Amazon has already matched those features with the DX. Amazon’s U.S. and International Wireless version of the Kindle 2, like the Que, uses AT&T. And it looks like the Que will find itself competing with the company that’s powering its bookstore: Barnes & Noble.

One thing that hasn’t changed about Plastic Logic’s device is its emphasis on business user. It’s coined the term “proReader” to describe the Que, says it’ll support PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, and promises unspecified “powerful tools for interactive with and managing the content.” It sounds like a logical way to differentiate the product in what will be a rather noisy market, mostly populated by products from companies larger than Plastic Logic. But I’ll still be glad when it’s finally possible to judge the Que in the only way that’s truly satisfying: In our own hands, with our own eyes.


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