Plastic Logic Postponed

By  |  Friday, March 12, 2010 at 9:17 am

Plastic Logic, which was planning to ship its Que e-reader in April, has concluded that it needs more time to put the finishing touches on its creation. It says it’s postponing release until summer in order to “further fine-tune features and enhance the overall product experience.”

If the delay indeed ends up being a few months at most, it doesn’t seem like that huge a deal. If I were a prospective customer, I’d surely prefer to wait a few months for a rock-solid Que than get a buggy one right away. Besides, a little extra time doesn’t mean much given than the company started previewing the Que in September of 2008 (and in fact was talking about using its technology to make e-readers as far back as 2000).

The real question about the Que and all other e-readers that use monochrome E-Ink screens is whether they’ll survive the technological sea change that seems inevitable when Apple releases the iPad on April 3rd. Even setting aside the fact that the iPad is a multi-function device with a color screen, it’s likely to have a major impact on folks’ expectations for tablet-type gadgets: Judging from demos, it’s is blazingly fast. no E-Ink-equipped device is anywhere near zippy, and the Que felt especially sluggish when I tried a pre-release version at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. (The software was still a work in progress at that point, so the version that Plastic Logic releases may be quicker–and the delayed releases makes all the more sense if the company is tweaking it for better performance.)

Unlike most e-reader makers, Plastic Logic is a real technology company with its own innovative manufacturing process and factory. It’s also got a unique focus–it’s catering to business professionals–and the slickest user interface I’ve seen on any E-Ink device to date. It’ll be interesting to see how Que fares–even if we have to wait a bit longer to find out.



5 Comments For This Post

  1. carmen Says:

    can iPad display 200dpi nearly-print grade text with glorious high contrast in direct sunlight outdoors, and go a couple months without charging?

    my cheapo chinese ereader can, and it also displays every format under the sun, like PS, and reflows to fit..

    somehow i doubt iPad is going after this market. theyre going after people on couches who want to lok at youtube

  2. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    I will not be surprised at all if this device never, ever ships. Do not hold your breath.

    > can iPad display 200dpi
    > nearly-print grade text with glorious
    > high contrast in direct sunlight

    Yes, actually. The screen itself is a little less than 200dpi, but with the high quality color screen and OS X’s sophisticated anti-aliasing, it makes up the difference. Further, OS X can do world class typography, the kerning and metrics are much better than other book readers, the text looks beautiful. It works great in sunlight, just like iPod and iPhone, and even adjusts the brightness of its screen automatically so that if you then move into a dark room, the screen dims down appropriately.

    But the real question is: can a grayscale reader display every book in the bookstore/library? No, it can’t. It’s good only for pulp fiction. Kindle-style readers can’t do art books, photo books, children’s books, charts and graphs in business books, diagrams in technical books, glossy magazines, and they can’t show the Web, which is in color. They can’t show the video that’s already included in some print books via DVD, they can’t show the animated tutorials that will replace the still screen captures in computer books very shortly. Right now computer learning is split between print and CD/DVD, but you can unite those in one iPad book.

    The #1 category of books on Kindle is romance novels. It’s like a digital paperback book, except even there, you lose the cover art, which is really a shame. iPad is a digital hardcover, glossy, coffee table book, any kind of book. The fact that it can do the entire library is key, like the iPod can do any music album that came before it.

    It’s great that you like your reader, but the gray screens are going away now. Apple has already ordered more iPads for their first quarter of sales than all of the Kindles ever sold. Keep your grayscale reader in good shape so you can show it to your grandchildren.

    Most of the pages (print and Web) in the world are color, it’s not suitable to have a reader that is not color. They’re not up to the content.

    > and go a couple months without charging?

    Nobody cares about that. For the overwhelming majority of users, they will use iPad all day long and put it to bed at night plugged into AC, just like an iPod. If it can do 10 hours of video or Wi-Fi Web, it can do 12-15 hours of reading. People do not want to give up color, the Web, video, games, apps, photos, and much more so that they can get a 13th hour of reading or leave the device unplugged overnight while they themselves are sleeping. And if you are in the minority of users for which that is not enough usage per day, there are small accessory batteries that can power an iPhone for 3 days.

  3. IcyFog Says:

    Real artists ship.
    When does the HP tablet ship?
    If these tablets and e-readers ship soon, this Que device will get lost in the shuffle.

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  5. bims Says:

    .) There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made certain nice points in features also.

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