Business, Entertainment

End of Story for Que ProReader

The story began in January and ended today, eight short months later. The Que ProReader so heralded at CES 2010, and since laden with awards, never made it to the retail shelves. But wait, there?s a sequel coming. [And it might be written in Russian ? keep reading. Ed.]

Plastic Logic announced today that it will cancel its Que product and concentrate on a second generation version, because of the rapidly changing eReader market. Richard Archuleta, CEO, said ?? with the product delays we have experienced, it no longer made sense for us to move forward with our first generation electronic reading product.? He thanked the investors who remain committed to the long term success of the company. Plastic Logic will continue to develop products using its proprietary technology.

Plastic electronics technology has many benefits related to manufacturing, form factor, and environmental concerns that indicate it can surpass the traditional silicon semiconductor glass-based display products, according to the company?s press release.

The Que ProReader was the first digital reading device made specifically for professional use, rather than the general public. It was touted to replace the business person?s briefcase and all its contents, not an individual?s paperback book. The content was aimed at ?inquiring minds? who read mainstream newspapers and financial magazines. Plastic Logic provided the familiar look and feel of print publications.

Originally expected to be priced around $650, the recent eReader price wars had an impact. The ProReader?s deluxe model was planned with Wi-Fi, 3G wireless, 8GB memory, and an even higher price tag of $799. Then, Amazon dropped Kindle?s price, and competing with Apple?s iPad, regardless of price, wasn?t a consideration when Que began development.

Just two months ago, in June, the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) at their annual International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) competition gave out a bronze to the Que ProReader. Now it sadly looks more like a ?booby prize?. However, the technology still holds, and will simply be improved upon and brought up to date in relation to the latest developments in eReaders.

Based in Mountain View, California, Plastic Logic technology was developed by scientists at Cambridge University?s Cavendish Laboratory in the UK. The company also has facilities in Dresden Germany. Surprisingly, they may soon have offices in Russia as well.

IT ProPortal is reporting as we write this that a state-owned, Russian non profit organization is looking to buy Plastic Logic. The organization is known as Rusnano who, along with the State University Higher School of Economics (SUHSE ) in Moscow, developed a roadmap for using nanotechnologies in the manufacturing of light-emitting diodes with known methods from Cambridge University and other sources. Ah, there?s the connection.

The director of international affairs at the Russian Corporation Nanotechnologies, the interested organization, told a Russian radio station that their managing director was in London working on the project, but they had no announcements to make and would not comment on rumor nor speculation.

Nor will we. However, it does looks like a new chapter is about to be written for Plastic Logic.