Plastic Logic delays Que eBook reader until summer

Plastic Logic announced today that it will have to delay the release of its hotly anticipated Que eBook reader until this summer. The company was originally aiming for a mid-April release.

It’s an inopportune time to announce such a big delay, considering that Apple just opened up preorders for the iPad today. Plastic Logic’s CEO Richard Archuleta said the delay is necessary to “fine-tune the features and enhance the overall product experience”, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Que is the product of a 10-year development cycle by Plastic Logic. Its all-plastic design comes from the company’s work on plastic transistors, which rely on plastic instead of typical silicon chips. Basically, it means that the Que is more lightweight and durable (it can withstand bending) than eBook competitors like Amazon’s Kindle. The screen is 8.5 by 11 inches, and the device itself is less than a third of an inch thick.

The Que will be able to download books from Barnes and Noble’s eBook store, and view typical office files like Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs. It will feature Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G connectivity, a touch screen, and a battery that will last for days.

A $649 Que model will be available with 4GB of storage and no 3G connectivity, and a $799 version will feature 8GB of storage and built-in 3G. Archuleta demonstrated the device for us on video at the Consumer Electronics Expo this January.

While the Que’s cost seems to preclude its becoming a mainstream success, I could see business users jumping on the device. It’s more stylish and modern than the Kindle 2, and it’s more portable and features a more paper-like screen than the iPad.

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