Que Reader Killed By Plastic Logic Before Release

If you’ve been waiting for the release of Plastic Logic’s Que Reader since its unveiling at last January’s Consumer Electronics Show, you’re going to have to wait a little longer…like forever.

The company announced on their blog that the combination of changes in the market for e-readers and recent product delays (Plastic Logic had missed multiple ship dates) led it to kill the Que before it went to market.

It’s hard not to argue with the logic behind their decision, but it’s a shame since last January the reader (priced at $650 or $800 depending on connectivity and storage options) was considered state of the art and one of the must have devices. In the time since, Apple launched the iPad starting at under $500, the e-reader price wars have driven device prices to the $130 area, and Que had nothing to show for 6+ months while the rest of the industry is out there gobbling up market share.

Had the Que launched, it would have turned into a blood bath for Plastic Logic since there just isn’t demand out there for an e-reader that costs as much as a netbook, no matter how big the screen (the Que’s screen was 8.5″ by 11″, same as a regular sheet of paper).

The story of Plastic Logic and the Que is not a new one when it comes to technology markets that are going through constant churn and change. Unfortunately, the makers of the Que misread the market and did not anticipate the quick acceptance of e-readers to the consumer market. Mass acceptance of e-readers helps drive prices down as the manufacturers try to grab share of the ever expanding pie, and a new, expensive entrant that’s not significantly differentiated from the lower price competitors was not going to fly with Main Street.

If Plastic Logic had product ready to ship right after CES the story would likely be different, sales would have been driven by the buzz surrounding the unveiling in Las Vegas and the uncertainty around the iPad and it’s abilities. Getting in on those early sales before e-readers took off would have given Plastic Logic some breathing room to possibly address their pricing strategy once the iPad came out and Amazon started slashing Kindle prices.

We’ll never know how good of a device the Que was, but Plastic Logic says they are focusing on a next generation e-reader, and hopefully they’ll be able to get this one to market before it passes them by.

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