Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Plastic Logic e-reader aims to challenge Kindle


Plastic e-reader launched at tech show

UK firm Plastic Logic has launched its Que e-reader in a bid to challenge the dominance of Amazon's Kindle.

The lightweight, touch-screen device went on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Que e-reader is based on Cambridge University research and has taken over 10 years to develop, with more than $200m of investment.

However the device, which has wireless and 3G connectivity, will not immediately be available in Britain.

"British users may be disappointed that this British company is yet to announce plans to bring this product to the UK," said the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones.

Flexible technology

The gadget has a black and white screen and is aimed at "mobile professionals", according to the company. It is currently a lot more expensive than its rival the Kindle.

The 4GB and 8GB models are priced $649 and $799 (£407 and £501) while the latest Kindle retails on the Amazon website at $259 and $489 (£162 and £306).

It is the first of a new range of products that the company hopes to build using flexible plastic electronic displays rather than heavier glass-based screens.

"They have built an impressive global business but are taking a risk by going on their own rather than licensing their technology to a better known name," added Mr Cellan-Jones.

However Plastic Logic - a spin out form Cambridge University's Cavendish labs - intends to build partnerships with other companies in the future to share its technology.

Digital books for the e-reader are being supplied by Barnes & Noble, whose eBookstore houses over 700,000 digital books compatible with various mobile devices.

It has also struck deals with newspapers such as USA Today.

Amazon, by comparison, says that it now provides more than 400,000 books and 100 newspapers and magazines on the Kindle.

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