John Paczkowski

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Plastic Logic Exits E-Reader Business It Never Really Managed to Enter

After two stumbling runs at the e-reader market, Plastic Logic has finally given up on the business altogether.

The company, which first debuted its touchscreen e-reader at D7, is shuttering its U.S. operations in Mountain View, Calif., and scrapping entirely its latest e-reader plan, which saw it peddling its devices in the Russian education market. Rather than continue to develop hardware, Plastic Logic will focus on licensing its flexible display technology to other companies.

So what will come of that $700 million factory Plastic Logic had planned for Zelenograd, Russia? Evidently, plans for that facility have been scaled back — substantially. Rather than a manufacturing plant, that operation will now be an “R&D center of excellence.”

A wise move for Plastic Logic, exiting a market it really never had a chance in. The company’s $800 Que was far too pricey for a stand-alone e-reader, even one targeted at enterprise. And Plastic Logic wasn’t nearly nimble enough to negotiate the rapidly changing e-reader market.

But there are others who are, and who might put Plastic Logic’s flexible, but rugged, screen technology to good use. And according to Plastic Logic CEO Indro Mukerjee, the company is already in talks with several potential customers. He says the first products using the company’s technology could arrive at market by the end of this year. Though given the company’s history, that window’s probably as flexible as one of its displays.

Below, Plastic Logic shows off a Que prototype at D7.

  • The Wait for Plastic Logic’s Que E-Reader Will Last Forever
  • Que? That’s Spanish for “Where the Hell Is My E-Reader,” Right?
  • You Still Can’t Buy Plastic Logic’s Que E-Reader. Want to Buy Plastic Logic?
  • Plastic Logic (Finally) Shows Off The Que, Its (Very Expensive) Kindle Competitor
  • Plastic Logic Offers a (Quick) Look at Its Kindle Killer: Meet the Que
  • Plastic Logic: The Full D7 Demo
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    Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

    — From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus