SAN JOSE, Calif. - Plastic Logic GmbH said it has canceled its Que product, an e-book reader that it planned to ship earlier this year.
The company announced it is revising its product strategy and plans to shift its focus to bring to market a second-generation product, dubbed the ProReader plastic electronics-based product.
“We recognize the market has dramatically changed, and with the product delays we have experienced, it no longer make sense for us to move forward with our first generation electronic reading product,” said Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta, in a statement. “This was a hard decision, but is the best one for our company, our investors and our customers.”
Last month, Plastic Logic (Dresden, Germany) delayed for a second time the launch of its monochrome Que e-reader and canceled existing orders. At the time, a company spokesperson declined to say when the Que would come to market, but confirmed that the company had canceled pre-existing orders. Neither would the spokesperson say whether engineering issues or pricing was the problem.
Now this is a rich story. In the world of aviation it is well known that disaster usually strikes when an uncommon situation is responded to with a short string of bad decisions and inappropriate reactions. For the last year or two it has been plain to see, that the modern "picture tube" is the LED backlit LCD screen. This product relegates all other display technologies to niches. No serious challenger has yet appeared. The first bad decision of the Plastic Logic execs was to go for a mass display market when this market was already spoken for. The next bad decision was to go for e-readers. They are not dead yet but the ipad may very well condemn them to remain a niche. In aviation as in business, hoping for two miracles in a row is not a sound basis for success. They teach this in the first lesson of pilot school.
Not a positive sign for a company when they have a first-generation product high-profile launch, working product sample, and existing pre-orders and then cancel the product for an "undisclosed" reason. Does not provide a lot of confidence for investors and should certainly stifle confidence future products. But the eBook market is certainly very challenging right now for newcomers.
I confess I attended and covered the high profile Que launch on the showfloor of CES in January. The company had button-down management, working systems and a story that made sense.
But the realities of the "instant commodity" market for ebooks and whatever other problems that cropped up the company is not discussing apparently blew a big hole through all that.
Not that it will happen, but the "press" should stop giving any coverage to vaporware/vapor-product pre-announcements--anyone can say they are going to release/ship anything,it proves nothing, and it is not "news". The vendors are taking advantge of the foolishness and laziness of the press, knowing the press will cover anything if it is in a hot area.
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