Plastic Logic Reader, an e-reader scheduled to be released in early 2010 with a larger screen than Amazon.com's Kindle DX, will feature a wireless broadband connection via the AT&T 3G network. Plastic Logic's device is meant for the mobile business professionals segment, with the company playing up the device's ability to download and display Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF documents. As the e-reader market becomes more lucrative, players such as Google and Sony are also moving into the space.
An upcoming e-reader from Plastic Logic, aimed at the small and midsize
business and enterprise markets, will utilize AT&T's 3G network to
wirelessly download material onto the mobile device. The July 22 announcement
followed on the heels of news that Barnes & Noble would manage Plastic
Logic's electronic bookstore.
In adopting wireless connectivity, the Plastic Logic Reader mirrors a
similar feature of Amazon.com's Kindle e-readers allowing users to download
content such as books and periodicals from virtually anywhere. Amazon.com's
latest e-reader, the large-screen
Kindle DX, became a bestseller
upon its release in June.
Instead of challenging Amazon.com head-on in the consumer space, however,
Plastic Logic is positioning its device as an e-reader for "mobile
business professionals" who need a more portable way to carry multiple
documents. The Barnes & Noble eBookstore
includes 700,000 titles and
500,000 free public-domain books from Google; in addition, users of the
e-reader will be able to download documents in a variety of formats, including
PDF, Word and PowerPoint.
Terms of the deal with AT&T were not disclosed. The Plastic Logic Reader is
scheduled to roll out to consumers in early 2010, although the company has
declined to disclose a price for the device.
Richard Archuleta, CEO of Plastic Logic,
said in a July 22 statement that the alliance with AT&T is "a pillar
in our strategy to provide mobile business professionals with a device that
delivers a great reading experience."
According to Plastic Logic, its e-reader will feature a touch-screen with
dimensions that, at 8.5 by 11 inches, are larger than those of Amazon.com's
Kindle DX. The Kindle DX, which retails for $489, includes a 9.7-inch grayscale
screen, with navigation via a five-point controller.
The market for e-readers is potentially an extremely lucrative one. Analysts
have said they expect the Kindle to earn Amazon.com
billions in coming years,
with Doug Anmuth of Barclays Capital estimating the device's earnings at $1.2
billion in sales in 2010 and $3.7 billion in 2012.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, who has
repeatedly declined to name exact sales figures, admitted that Kindle-related
sales brought in 35 percent of his company's book-related revenue. The Kindle
DX's larger screen is intended to capitalize on the newspaper and textbook
Recognizing the potential profits, a number of other
companies have begun moving into the e-reader space,
which announced in June that it was planning to begin selling e-books through
its sites by the end of 2009. Google also offers its e-books through Sony's
line of e-reader devices.
In order to eat into these companies' lead in the market, Plastic Logic
seems to be taking a number of steps to rapidly expand its e-book ecosystem
upon the Reader's release. Key among these steps is the plan to make the
Plastic Logic Reader an open platform, offering publishers and content
aggregators a streamlined channel through which to distribute content.
In a move that mimics Amazon.com's deals with textbook and newspaper
publishers, Plastic Logic has announced partnerships with the Financial Times,
the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, USA Today and content aggregators
such as Ingram Digital to distribute their content through the Plastic Logic