Plastic Logic has been in and out of the news for months with its supposed Kindle-killing e-reader, but we really haven't seen much other than prototype tech. That's just changed, as the Que's been given a teaser unveiling. Turns out, it may have its sights trained more sharply on forthcoming tablet PCs, rather than Kindle.
The Que, from the sneaky images Plastic Logic's released, looks to be every bit as sleekly-designed as we'd suggested it would be—even from a moodily-lit profile shot you can tell this thing is going to sit more nicely in your hands and on your lap than a Kindle, with its faintly MacBook Air-esque curved back.
The Air comparison also sits nicely alongside the description Plastic Logic's CEO Richard Archuleta put in the accompanying press release: "The Que brand stands for a premium reading experience." But Archuleta also repositions the Que as something a little different to merely being a Kindle killer e-reader device. He notes "Que enhances business performance and gives you a competitive edge." The business angle's also played up with mention of support for PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel...and there's even the intriguing phrase "powerful tools for interacting with and managing the content." That implies you may be able to do more than just annotate documents on the Que—will you be able to actually edit them, or run a Powerpoint presentation? We can't tell yet, but it certainly seems that Plastic Logic's Que will enter the e-reader game right at the top end, perhaps tending toward limited Tablet PC capabilities.
The hardware measures about 8.5 inches by 11 inches, and includes a full-surface E-ink display that's the "largest screen in the industry" and is both shatterproof and capacitive touch-sensing. That means it's capable of multitouch gesture inputs, and doesn't require a stylus—its UI probably won't be as clever as the conceptual one shown in Microsoft's Courier business Tablet PC, but the multitouch will certainly be welcome.
We won't know more until January 7, when the company is due to unveil the full specifications at the CES show—at that point we'll find out what content Barnes and Noble have planned for it (will it be similar to that on the upcoming B&N e-reader, which may or may not also have Plastic Logic tech inside it?), how much it'll cost and how it will stack up against the capabilities of the rumored Apple Tablet and even the Courier.