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Plastic Logic Can’t Deliver On Que; Delays E-Reader Shipments By Months

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Another e-reader company is finding it more difficult than expected to deliver devices. Pre-order customers for the Plastic Logic Que proReader are getting an e-mail from CEO Richard Archuleta about an extended delay in delivering the device, highly anticipated because of its sleek form factor and large screen. During CES, where Que was one of the buzziest booths, the company said it would ship the expensive devices by mid-April. The new shipping date is a vague “this summer.” The offered reason: “to fine-tune the features and enhance the overall product experience.” Plastic Logic will eat the shipping fees to make up for the delay.

If the prospect was shipping a product with a software experience that disappointed, as was the case at first with the rushed Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) Nook, holding it back until it’s right could keep Plastic Logic from a dud on delivery. But the delay puts it out months after the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad, which was still unannounced when Que went public with its plans — and went on pre-order sale this morning. The iPad is priced lower than expected at the bottom end, $499 for WiFi only with 16 GB, but the 3G version at the top of the line runs $829. The Que starts much higher for WiFi only at $649 but so far costs out just below the iPad at the highest end; an 8 GB model with WiFi and 3G is $749. The price comparison is doesn’t deal with the real differences: one is a mutli-task device that promises to include a smooth e-reading and e-retailing experience for a wide audience; the other is a dedicated device aimed at a very specific business market.

E-mail to customers from Richard Archuleta
Subject: QUE proReader Shipping Update

Thank you for being one of the first customers to order a QUE proReader from Plastic Logic. We appreciate your business.

Today, I wanted to personally inform you that we are postponing the first QUE proReader shipments until this Summer in order to fine-tune the features and enhance the overall product experience. Within the next month we will send you an email with more details about your order. If you also ordered accessories for your QUE proReader, we plan to ship them at the same time as your QUE proReader. I can imagine that you want to get your QUE proReader as soon as possible. We are sorry for the delay. For your inconvenience, the shipping charges will be on us. Please note that we will not charge your credit card until your order is ready to ship.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at [email protected] Once again, thank you for being one of our first QUE proReader customers.

Best regards,

Richard Archuleta
Plastic Logic

And this is a video demo Archuketa did for us at CES: