Plastic Logic eReader Update From All Things D

Yesterday Plastic Logic demoed their upcoming eReader on All Things D conference.

Here’s a summary of features that were announced so far:

  • OS: Windows CE
  • PC OS Supported: Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS
  • Size: 8.5″ x 11″ x 0.25″
  • Weight: less than 16 oz
  • Screen Size: ~10″ touchscreen active eInk
  • Connectivity: USB, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth
  • Battery life: “days, not hours”
  • Formats supported: PDF, DOC(X), XLS(X), PPT(X), TEXT, RTF, HTML, JPEG, PNG, BMP, ePub, eReader Format
  • DRM: undisclosed at the moment
  • Release date: 2010 Q1
  • Price: undisclosed at the moment

Some highlights from the video:

  • Device is geared towards business users rather than eBook readers.
  • Documents are organized into folders called binders.
  • Documents can be scribbled on, annotated and highlighted using touch screen. Nice feature is partial screen refresh.

Verdict: at the moment prospects of this device seem mediocre at best. There are no strong indicators that would show it will be successful as eBook reader. Mainly because nothing is yet known about book store which was crucial to Kindle’s success. As for business documents while this device is good for reading and annotating, I doubt that it will provide good experience for editing and creating new documents. This would be important for business users. While battery life that is “days, not hours” is important for business people on the go, there are notebooks available today that can go 6-8 hours on a single charge and run full-featured version of Microsoft Office. 6-8 hours is more than enough for most users. By the time Plastic Logic will release their product battery technology would have improved and this advantage would diminish even more.

Plastic Logic eReader
Plastic Logic eReader

Overall it seems that many companies were inspired by success of Kindle and Sony eReader and decided to jump into what seems to be a promising market. But you can’t expect to succeed just because market is great and growing fast and you offer something that’s different from competitors.

9 thoughts on “Plastic Logic eReader Update From All Things D”

  1. As a researcher, I prefer the Plastic Logic eReader’s focus on being a dedicated and well designed reader, rather than using a ‘book shop’ as a differentiator.

  2. While I agree that it’s important for product to be well designed, the most perfect eBook reader would be useless paperweight if you can’t get the book you need on it. Either because it’s not available in the right format or you don’t have the network connectivity at the moment.

  3. There is a market for PDF readers, particularly where we can annotate the documents. Litigation involves a huge number of documents, and having them in pdf keeps them tidy and protected for analysis in building a case/attacking a defense. We expect to use this device to supplement the Kindle.

  4. I can’t disagree – the market is there – it’s not large though. Compare the number of people who prepare for complex legal battles to the number of people who read books…

  5. This is definitely a good competitor to Kindle, please remember reading doesn’t targeted to Book only, there are huge of PDF documents there on the fly, they are actrually the content we are reading each day.

    Well, I still suppose the best e-reader will be something integrated with an actrual computer and e-ink screen, it seems Pixel Qi and Plastic logic both make their products this way.

  6. There are a couple of websites I know that you can download sheet music in pdf form. This virtually eliminates the need for ‘paper’ sheet music. Not to mention I can write on the PDF scores which saves trees and hassles that come along with having paper sheet music. All these features make it IDEAL for a musician, and I am more than willing to pay the $400-500 dollars that this product will cost.

  7. Big plus of this device: the properly sized (10″!) screen. Together with the ample wireless connection standards this could make it also the device for choirs and music groups: all your music with you in one slim device, and no paper distribution required for new pieces to be rehearsed. For the musicians a foot-switch for the page turn-overs would complete the set.

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