Plastic Logic Unwraps Que E-Reader For Mobile Pros

Larger than the Amazon Kindle DX in screen size, and higher in price, the Que electronic reader is aimed squarely at mobile professionals.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

January 7, 2010

3 Min Read

Plastic Logic QUE

Plastic Logic QUE

(click image for larger view)
Plastic Logic Que

Plastic Logic on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited Que electronic reader, announcing that the competitor to Amazon's Kindle DX will be available in mid-April.

Geared toward business professionals, the Que has a 10.7-inch diagonal display, one inch larger than the Kindle DX, and can display documents in Adobe PDF and Microsoft Office formats. The DX can't do the latter, but Plastic Logic is charging considerably more for its device.

The Que will cost $649 for 4 GB of storage and support for Wi-Fi only. For $799, a buyer will also get access to AT&T's 3G broadband network to download books, magazines, and newspapers from the online Que Store. Amazon sells the Kindle DX for $489, including 4 GB of storage and a 3G connection to buy content from the online retailer. There's no Wi-Fi support.

Plastic Logic debuted the product at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company has been talking to the media about the Que for months.

Plastic Logic is hoping professionals will be willing to pay the higher price to get a device that can access most of their documents while on the road. The larger screen will make it easier to read diagrams and other business-related graphics, as well as text. To emphasize its focus with the Que, Plastic Logic is calling the device a "proReader," rather than an e-reader.

"The Que proReader was built from the ground up for people who need to read," Richard Archuleta, chief executive of Plastic Logic, said in a statement. "Starting today, mobile professionals can look forward to a paperless briefcase, a lighter load, and a better way to work."

The letter-size device is 8.5 inches by 11 inches and is a third of an inch thick. Like other e-readers, the Que only shows documents in grayscale, but text and graphics are clearly visible, even in sunlight.

Besides downloading content wirelessly, the device comes with a data cable that can be plugged into a PC, Mac, or Research in Motion's BlackBerry to access personal or business files. The device's display is a touchscreen that doesn't require a stylus for navigation and includes a virtual keyboard that can be used to add comments and highlight text.

Plastic Logic's Que Store is powered by bookseller Barnes & Noble, which will also sell the e-reader at its retail stores. Plastic Logic also has partnerships with a number of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Forbes, Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News, Financial Times, USA Today, and MIT Technology Review.

Plastic Logic is taking preorders for Que, which is scheduled to start shipping mid-April.

Competition appears to be heating up among makers of large-screen e-readers. On Monday, Skiff introduced an e-reader with an 11.5-inch flexible touchscreen that the company claims is the highest resolution e-reader display to date. The device uses Sprint as its exclusive wireless provider.

Skiff, however, did not say when the device would be available or how much it will cost. The company also hasn't announced partnerships with publishers.

Amazon remains the leader in the e-reader market. The online retailer self-reported record sales in November. Forrester Research estimates 3 million units were sold in 2009 in the United States and expects sales this year to reach 10 million units.

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