LONDON A delay to the launch of the Que e-reader from Plastic Logic GmbH (Dresden, Germany) was blamed on recent changes in the manufacturing process, by Achim Neu, director of SCM at Plastic Logic. Meanwhile, progress to a full-color Plastic Logic display i set to take a couple of years, despite the fact that the company has a color prototype working in its Cambridge R&D center.
Neu, speaking at the International Electronics Forum in Dresden, Germany, acknowledged that the launch of the Que e-reader had been delayed but said it would be able to satisfy existing orders for the e-reader in June. However,
The Que is priced at between $650 and $800 depending on whether it has 3G connectivity and the amount of solid-state memory. It is due to go on sale initially in the United States through a deal with the Barnes & Noble book store.
Neu presented the IEF audience with the benefits of organic electronics, which Plastic Logic uses in the Que to create a low-cost, flexible, active-matrix backplane to drive a Vizplex monochrome electrophoretic frontplane display from E Ink.
Neu said "process stability" and "volume production problems" had delayed the Que. "We have had less than a year bring in the equipment and transfer the process," he said. He added that some significant process steps had been changed.
As to color Neu said there was nothing fundamental stopping the application of color on a rigid substrate. "We have built a colour display and it is working at our Cambridge laboratory", Neu told the conference delegates. However, he added that Plastic Logic wanted to retain the advantage of working with flexible substrates, even though it is not shown off to great effect in the fixed-frame Que e-reader. Neu said that finding color filters that adhere to a plastic, flexible substrate, and are reliable under repeated flexing was not trivial.
Plastic Logic intends to have a color demonstrator by the end of 2011 and to move that into volume production in the following year.