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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another one bites the dust

The spectacularly successful Apple iPad scared Hewlett-Packard into canceling plans for its tablet computer and go back to the drawing board. On Tuesday, Plastic Logic canceled its pending e-reader.

In January, Plastic Logic Ltd. showed off its Que ProReader: a large, thin, touch-screen-enabled e-reader aimed at business users. It was supposed to go on sale this year, but the company is killing that device because of delays it faced in a rapidly changing market. It will work on a new, more advanced ProReader instead.

At $649 or $799, depending on connectivity and amount of memory, the Que would have been expensive--maybe too expensive.

The Que was to have a 10.7-inch plastic display and could be used for reading e-books and documents in various formats including PDF, MS Office and ePub.

Since the initial Que announcement, the e-reader business has changed dramatically. Apple started shipping its iPad in April, starting at $499. Amazon.com is shipping new models of the Kindle this month, priced from just $139.

Plastic Logic said it no longer made sense to release the planned Que. Instead, the company will "refocus, redesign and retool" for its next e-reader. AT&T had planned to support the Que over its wireless broadband and Wi-Fi hotspot networks.

Plastic Logic is based in Mountain View, California., and has R&D operations in Britain. It was formed in 2000 by researchers from Cambridge University. (based on info from the Associated Press)

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