Plastic Logic QUE Preview

Posted by Artash Arakelyan On February - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

plastic logic quePlastic Logic is a spin-off company from the Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory and specializes in polymer transistors and electronics. Plastic Logic’s Mission is to lead a revolution in the way people acquire, organize and consume information. The headquarters of Plastic Logic is in Mountain View, California.

Plastic Logic unveils QUE, the first proreader designed for the business professional. QUE is built using unique plastic electronics technology, and was designed to have the benefits of paper, but without weight and clutter. The Plastic Logic QUE ebook reader was designed by industrial design firm IDEO and is the best-looking device in its category.

The QUE borrows a certain Apple-like quality as it’s both extremely thin and very minimalist. The Plastic Logic QUE is an e-reader that enables you to carry reading material wherever you go. After three different debuts, we know QUE will be size of 1/3 inch thick and weighting 16 oz (453 grams), less than many periodicals (about a pound). Besides compact size the QUE is also a beautiful device. The company clearly put a lot of effort into everything from the design to one-touch navigation.

QUE features a crisp, clear screen that looks and reads just like paper. QUE has a lighter 10.7 inch display which is possible more durable than a glass screen. The screen displays your latest emails and calendar, pulled from Outlook along with your favorite subscriptions and books. The user is able to interact with the documents with the touch of a finger. Today the QUE has the largest E link display among ebook readers, as well as the touchscreen interface.

The device’s touchscreen display includes a virtual onscreen keyboard allowing the user to add notes, to include comments, highlight text, scribble free form, and even add a stamp to emphasize a point. No stylus is needed for the QUE.

plastic logic que ereader

Plastic Logic’s strategy is to aim its product at business professionals, given the large screen and support for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. Plastic Logic has also given it email and calendar support, together with Outlook sync. QUE users will be able to connect to content and download wirelessly via Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 3G network, the nation’s fastest 3G mobile broadband network. With the QUE software, it’s easy to quickly transfer content from your PC, Mac computer, or BlackBerry smartphone to your QUE.

The company has also lined up a host of business publications to provide content for its platform, including the Dow Jones Company and The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and All Things Digital, Forbes, and Fast Company. The standard 4GB model can hold 35,000 documents or so, and an 8GB version pumps that up to 70,000 or so and the latest adds 3G connectivity. As nice as it is, Plastic Logic promise to reveal the Plastic Logic QUE in March. Preorders for the QUE proreader will be priced at $649 USD for the 4GB model with Wi-Fi or $799 USD for the 8GB model with both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Here’s the original preview article we posted in May 2009 about the QUE.  Seems like Plastic Logic is really taking their time to get it perfect. ;)

plastic logic que ebook reader

The future of eInk technology

Posted by Jennifer Wang On July - 14 - 2009 3 COMMENTS

Currently most of the popular portable ebook readers are using eInk technology to display text, graphs, and pictures on the screens.  But there are starting to emerge competitors which bring with them promises of color, flexible, higher resolution, and easier-to-read devices.

Here’s an update on what’s going on in the world of electronic paper:

  • PVI eInk
    • PVI is the company that owns the eInk technology in the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, as well as other devices
    • Currently the leader in ePaper technology
    • Uses electrophoretic technology
    • Future plan – color and flexible screens within 2 years, video within 4 years
  • Fujitsu FLEPia
    • The first company to make a color ebook reader!
    • Also has touchscreen functionality
    • Once Fujitsu brings prices down, they could have a serious Kindle competitor
    • Future plan – no ETA on when video will be available
  • Pixel Qi LCD
    • Been in development for only one year
    • Uses advanced LCD and OLPC technology, so will be fairly cheap to manufacture
    • Already supports color and video!
    • Future plan -  take over the ereader market
  • Qualcomm Mirasol
    • Uses reflective technology called Interferometric MODulation (IMOD) with Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) – basically a lot of big words that only super smart people understand
    • Inspiration reportedly comes from looking at how butterfly wings work – cool!
    • There’s already a few products using this technology and a bunch more in development, including a couple mobile phones
    • Already supports color and video.   Requires very low power usage and is viewable in direct sunlight.
    • Future plan – unknown
  • BridgeStone QR-LPD
    • Quick Response Liquid Particle Display (QR-LPD) uses particles suspended in air rather than in link (like eInk)
    • Already in use in stores in Asia
    • Already has color and touchscreen functionality!
    • Future plan – no ETA on when electronic reading devices will be sportin’ this cool tech
  • Plastic Logic
    • Designed with business users in mind
    • It’s extremely flexible, has touchscreen, is unbreakable, and can be quite large if needed
    • Uses Organic Thin Film Transistors (OTFT) which is cheaper than silicon
    • Future  plan – color and video to come in the next couple years
  • LiquaVista
    • A child company of Philips
    • Uses electrowetting technology that is great for video playback
    • Compatible with LCDs
    • Flexible, has color and of course video, and has 3 operational modes – reflective, transflective, and transmissive
  • ASU Flexible Display
    • Has over $100 million in investment including from HP and the US Army
    • Primary design is for the screens and they borrow existing technologies to “ink” the displays
    • Uses Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED), eInk, and Kent Displays
    • Already supports video and color
  • Gamma Dynamics EFD
    • Based out of the University of Cincinnati’s Novel Devices Lab
    • Uses electrofluidic displays (EFD) which have a greater than 85% reflectance to white (very impressive)
    • Supports video
    • Is flexible and very durable
    • Not in commercial use yet; no word on when this will happen
  • Opalux P-Ink
    • Design based off the structure of opals and uses photonic chrystals
    • Supports video and color
    • Can diffract and reflect different colors based on how the ePaper is structured
    • Extremely flexible and durable

Well that’s definitely a lot to take in.   Hopefully that helps you get some understanding of all the development that’s going on to advance portable ebook readers and make them easier to use and read.

Plastic Logic Reader Preview

Posted by Jim Swanson On May - 29 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

Plastic Logic recently demoed their portable ebook Reader at the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D conference near San Diego. They surprised a lot of attendees by giving everyone a *free* Plastic Logic Reader. This device won’t be available to the general public until Jan 2010, but apparently Plastic is determined to build the hype early.

Here’s a video showing a demo of the Reader at the conference:

And here’s a list of some of the features that we were able to gather from different sources:

  • A screen that’s larger than 10″ – wow!
  • Extremely light-weight and thin
  • Touchscreen (like the Sony Reader PRS-700)
  • 3G wireless capability (like the Amazon Kindle 2 and Kindle DX)
  • The devices will be able to “beam” documents back and forth between each other (we’re guessing via BlueTooth or maybe IR)
  • WiFi support
  • Ability to scribble and add annotations
  • Very long battery life
  • Native support for many Microsoft Documents and PDF files

The price is currently unknown but many sources are saying it will likely be more expensive than the Amazon Kindle DX – that means greater than $500!

The target market is reportedly “mobile business professionals” according to Plastic Logic’s Director of Marketing, Maureen Mellon. Their CEO went on to say, “Everything is designed for the business user, and business users require a lot of different types of content. It’s really not about books at all.

Hmmm…sounds like it’s designed more to be a business document, magazine, and newspaper reader, rather than for novels or ebooks.

One apparent flaw that the media is jumping all over, is that it takes 4 seconds to turn pages, although in the video above you can clearly see that it takes less than that. Plus, the public release isn’t for 8 months so I’m not sure why everyone would make such a big deal out of a work-of-progress.

For more info on the Plastic Logic Reader:

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