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Plastic Logic’s Que December 13, 2009

Posted by CK in Mobility, Productivity.
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For the last few weeks, I’ve been contemplating about buying an ebook reader. Seeing the Kindle ad every time I was visiting Amazon, certainly helped a lot. The truth is, I’ve collected a large amount of books and papers over the last few years, and I’ve only read a small percentage of them. There are two important reasons: Lack of time, and the fact that I don’t like carrying books around — my backpack is already very heavy with the laptop et al. Although the problem of time would not be solved, an electronic reader would certainly help as regards the mobility of reading material.

The price of Kindle is now at $US 259, quite attractive indeed, and the approaching Christmas made the temptation stronger. Although I arrived twice at the checkout screen, I eventually decided I should do some more research. I’m glad I did. Kindle’s support for PDF is unfortunately suboptimal (granted, PDF’s static nature doesn’t help to deliver the reading experience that Amazon has achieved for its own digital format), and all my reading material is PDF-based. Especially for papers this is a problem; I’ve read many reports saying that the conversion to Kindle’s native format leaves a lot to be desired when formulas and tables are involved.

So I set out to find something better for reading PDF documents. I don’t care about wireless delivery and the such. Eventually I found that the offerings of Irex are currently the closest to what I need. A choice between 8.1” and 10.2” displays, native PDF support and a touch screen you can use for notes and annotations! Nevertheless, the price is just too large. The cheapest product costs 540 euros, which is more than double the price of Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and basically pretty much anything else there exists out there. Also, they all are quite heavy, apparently (430g for the Iliad, more than half a kilo for the Digital Reader).

So I kept searching, and stumbled onto a product still unreleased, but about to be officially presented (on Jan 7): The QUE, by Plastic Logic. This is brand new technology, and the QUE is the first product to feature it. This video from All-Things-Digital made me drool; the device is super-thin, apparently very light, and the display seems to be at least on par with everything else. I hope they price it reasonably too!

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