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back to article Plastic Logic unveils executive e-book reader

We first encountered UK-based Plastic Logic when it demo'd its prototype e-book reader at CES 2009 - you can watch a video demo here. Now the company has launched the product. Dubbed the Que, it's being pitched as the executive's e-book reader, thanks to a big, clear, "shatterproof" display. At 10.7in, it's bigger than the one …

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WTF?

£400! for a bloody newspaper!

Can you toilet train puppies with it at least?

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Be nice...

To have that sort of thing that just connects to a network and can read news sites from the web/documents on my PC/that sort of thing, without all of that storage space. Just a nice document reader to sit next to my main monitor.

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Nice but *very* expensive

Oh dear, another UK company pitches a limited function product at *much* higher cost than its basic functionality permits because of the super duper tech involved.

Yes Plastic Logic has sunk a lot of cash in getting its tech working and wants a ROI ASAP.

But *you* are *not* Apple. You have virtually *no* public profile, certainly not as a supplier of cool, must-have gadets at silly prices. This level of pricing Vs functionality is *not* justifiiable.

Especially as IIRC the *whole* point of this technology is to radically *lower* the manufacturing cost of new hardware (not quite disposable but a hell of a lot cheaper)

Unless the price/performance ratio improves *fairly* quickly this will join the list of clever, but over priced UK sourced kit (BBC Micro, ARM PC) which was neat in it's day but failed to recognise the development curve that such products need to start working down if they don't want to be also rans, that charged a price premium *long* after more pedestrian software caught up (and then bypassed) them.

The price of this Vs the Skiff enewspaper reader will be *very* interesting to watch. Note that both seem to be e-ink variants, the Special Sauce (c Lewis Page) of the Skiff is the substrate, *not* the basic eink materials.

Thumbs up to Plastic Logic for getting a product out the door. Thumbs down for its poor price-performance

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@John Smith 19

Well its not like there's any point in them selling it at a loss. And if its as successful as the BBC Micro then they will be quids in :)

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Erm

Are wa talking about you know ARM... the most widespread 32bit cpu in the world??? Yes might have failed as a PC but the architecture is probably the most widespread in the world. Nearly every mobile dovice uses one.

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Joke

Hope nobody beats me to it...

They called it the what?

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WTF?

As a guide... wait what?

Which guide? What's the price indicator based on, competing products? Or "unofficial" statements by Plastic Logic?

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Guide

The U.S. price.

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Anonymous Coward

@Brian 6

Some consumer electronics manufacturers do sell their products at a loss, quite intentionally. However, they do tend to have other products, in particular software to make up the loss.

This often does happen with games consoles.

These products suffer from very high elasticity of demand, if they drop the price a little, they sell a lot more. So it's really important to get that price below a threshold which will shift the stock.

It's a shame they can't subsidise the Que from other parts of the business until the sales volumes increase and they start to make significant inroads to recuperating the development costs

It's an expensive newspaper.

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@RotaCyclic

Yes I know that "Some consumer electronics manufacturers do sell their products at a loss, quite intentionally. However, they do tend to have other products, in particular software to make up the loss." But as I said there would be no point THIS COMPANY selling THIS PRODUCT at a LOSS.

Most people will download there ebook content for for nothing. So there is no point comparing this to Sony selling the PS3 at a loss and making money on software.

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@Brian 6

"Well its not like there's any point in them selling it at a loss. "

This product is a portal device to a service, Like a mobile phone or a games console. So actually there is quite a lot of point to selling it ata loss (as long as its the newspaper publisher that's doing the selling)

And if its as successful as the BBC Micro then they will be quids in :)

See my previous post about being left behind by the market. The UK seems to have a history of successful-for-a-while companies that cease to exist (seen anything of Acorn lately?). It would be nice if PL was not one of them.

It seems that it takes management nerve and initiative (you might call it "vision") that British managers, or their VC backers, lack.

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The Gillette model

You are suggesting that this is the shaver, not the blades, to be sold once at a loss and then subsidised by the repeat business?

But Gillette made the blades. As far as I know, PL is not a publisher, news operation, or collective of authors.

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"seen anything of Acorn lately?"

They got bored of computers and decided to concentrate on chip design instead.

ARM = Acorn Risc Machines

(OK, then it was Advanced Risc Machines, and now just ARM for most purposes).

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Exactly

A lot of other e-book manufacturers have their own book "portal" where they make their profits by selling books to the people who purchased the hardware. Sony, Cooler and can we forget Amazon, all have sites to buy "their" books. Do PL have this? Do they intend to have this with books, newspapers, mags etc? I hope so but if so, how can they expect to get that price for their Que?

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Unhappy

My bad

I confused this product with the subscription enewspaper reader that spliff are supplying to Hearst, as also reported in El Reg.

As this does not appear to be being supplied as an access device it stands and falls on its own merits. I'd still say its *very* expensive. IIRC Kindle was sold as a subscriber portal device and was substantally cheaper. It has also been hacked to allow use as a more general purpose reader.

With my evil marketing hat on I would also note that when a company that is supplying a *manufacturing* technology to enable other companies to manufacture their products starts manufacturing its own versionn tends to get viewed as a threat. At the *very* least setting up a tradename to distance their products from manufacturing operation. ARM do not manufacture set top boxes, PDAs, printers or other products for a reason. Consider the suspicion with which Sony and Nintendo view microsoft in the games market.

I wish Plastic Logic every success with their venture. The possibilites for their technology are huge.

I do

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Happy

@Number6

Not quite. The naming you gave is backwards, *from* Acorn to Advanced.

Acorn itself ended by being taken over by that powerhouse of Italian IT, Olivetti.

Mine's the one witht he back issue of PCW in the pockets.

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