Electronics manufacturer Plastic Logic has pulled the plug on Que, the company's e-reader, after concluding the unreleased device no longer has space in the marketplace. Que e-reader My thoughts exactly Monsieur After years of demonstrating prototypes, followed by an official debut at CES in January 2010, it seems the company …
Plastic Logic has a product strategy?
Just took too long about it.
Still, my money's on their tech in the long term. Whether or not it has a Plastic Logic logo on the front, the whole flexible-screen thing has *definitely* got to be the way to go.
Let's face it, Kindles are crap on every level except for storage. Sure you can get a ton of books on there, but you'd have to be *desperate* for reading material to want to use one. 16 grey scales was cheap-ass in 1980 - we shouldn't be stuck with that in 2010 - and the resolution is shit too. When I got my first 800x600 monitor, I breathed a sigh of relief that I no longer had to look at huge jaggies on the edges of text, and I'm f*cked if I'm going to subject my eyes to that again. There's also the utterly hideous flash-flash-flash every time you turn a page. And it all might be OK if it was genuinely high-contrast, but all you actually get is lighter and darker shades of grey. Black text and white background? Not on this gadget, pal.
Especially now the boffins have found a way to make big sheets of graphene cheaply, touchscreens are going to rule the world in a couple of years time, so I'd expect that price to drop pretty seriously.
And if there's anyone with half a brain at PL, I'd also expect their gen2 version to come in an A5 format as well, and maybe even an A6 pocket-size version. Not everyone needs or wants a full-sized A4 reader, and there's no point pricing yourself out of the market for people looking for something smaller and cheaper.
PL's tech may well need some work to make this work
PL's core tech AFAIK is a printable transistor technology using organic materials and magazine printing resolution (that's a transistor with a minimum dimension of 84 microns). Given their raw materials have poorer properties than Silicon their clock frequency is going to be 10s of Mhz at *most*. These speeds mandate asynchronous logic (IE no clocks like the Manchester U. AMULET version of the ARM) to get decent performance (but should give *world* class battery life). This might need to be augmented by treating each pixel as a some kind of finite state automaton drive my multiple layers of logic (something which PL *also* excels at, in theory). An idea JPL looked at (sort of) to do signal processing inside a charge coupled imaging sensor in the 1970s and 80s (the "programming" consisted of setting various routing switches to the different elements and changing the complex clock pattern driving them)..
The challenge for PL was *always* to find the product niche where their core tech had a real edge. Dirt cheap (in principle) low performance but long battery.
I wish them well but I'm not sure they are going to deliver a *true* Plastic Logic based reader with adequate performance in anything like a conventional internal architecture.