Plastic Logic Delays Release of Que E-Reader
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 3. 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.