Plastic Logic’s Que Business eReader has been unveiled at CES 2010 and its $649 price puts it firmly in the ‘Business eReader’ category.
It’s a bit disappointing that they’d drum up interest for over a year without revealing pricing and then bring out something for $649.
Well, let’s look at whether Que is worth the price and ‘Business eReader’ designation.
Business eReader Que – The Key Features
First, a quick video – [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hFBZfSKU8g]
You can see another video and some Que photos at Engadget.
Here are the main selling points of the Que Business eReader –
- Focused on and designed specifically for Business Professionals. Includes tools (software) built by Plastic Logic to help read and review business documents.
- Very readable, large eInk screen – 8.5″ by 11″.
- Thin and Light – 0.3″ and around a pound.
- Flexible, unbreakable touchscreen. You can use your fingers.
- Wireless downloads from Que Store which has over a million titles. Note that the $649 model does not have 3G – only WiFi.
- Supports Word, Excel, and calendar syncing from Outlook (the video claims it does).
- Partnered with Good and Blackberry – transfer any email or attachment from Blackberry via BlueTooth plus support for Exhcnage, Gmail, Windows Live and other email providers.
- TruVue format from Adobe that supports a lot of the style and layout of print newspapers.
You can get more details at the ‘Buy Que’ page at B&N.
Business eReader positioning – Is there even such a category?
At first blush you think –
- Que is aimed at the business eReader category to make the price realistic.
- Que is a business eReader because that category is free of competitors.
While there’s probably some truth to these thoughts, Que does do a few things that make it, well, a business eReader –
- The large screen, PDF support, and claimed zooming capabilities make it great for PDFs.
- There is support for printable formats which means Word, Excel, Office 2007, Email, and Outlook (PC only).
- It supports Blackberry phones (provided they have bluetooth and an OS beyond 4.5).
- The thin and light design and the unbreakable screen make it easy to travel with.
- The screen size is ideally suited to documents and better for newspapers than existing eReaders.
Next, let’s look at the downsides.
What are the Que’s main competitors? What are the Que’s downsides?
By carving out a new category i.e. business eReader, the Que has put itself into a niche with basically no competitors.
The closest competitors are the Kindle DX and the Sony Reader Daily Edition. You could probably also include the Samsung E101 and iRex D1000.
We’ll address comparisons later since Que doesn’t come out until April 2010.
Que does have some downsides –
- The $649 model not having 3G support is ridiculous.
- The price is way too high.
- The Que Readers don’t seem to have an SD card.
- The screen has just 8 shades of grayscale and while not a big issue, it’s puzzling.
- It’s big enough to make portability a concern.
Que Business eReader Technical Specifications
First, let’s look at the $649 WiFi and no 3G Que –
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), USB, Bluetooth ® 2.0
Memory: 4 GB (Approx. 3.6 GB available for user data)
Display (viewable area): 10.5-inch diagonal, 944 x 1264 pixels at 150ppi, 8 gray levels
User Interface: Full Touchscreen, Virtual Keyboard
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, charging via computer or wall charger
Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″ x .3″
Weight: Approximately 17 ounces
QUE has native on-device support for PDF, GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, ePub, and TXT
Using the QUE software on your computer, QUE supports printable formats such as Microsoft Office 2003/2007 (requires Microsoft Office on your computer), email and calendar (Windows PC only; requires Microsoft Office Outlook), HTML (e.g., maps), and RTF
Minimum System Requirements:
PC or Mac with USB 2.0 support
Windows 7; Windows Vista, Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 2 or greater)
Mac OS X v10.5.4 or greater (Intel-based Macs only)
100MB minimum of free hard drive space (installation only)
Internet Access (broadband suggested)
BlackBerry ® smartphone with Bluetooth ® Technology
BlackBerry ® smartphone operating system 4.5.0 or higher
The $799 3G capable Que has the following differences –
Connectivity: Cellular (GSM) – In addition to the $649 Que’s Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g), USB, Bluetooth ® 2.0
Memory: 8 GB (Approx. 7.6 GB available for user data).
Weight: 17 ounces.
$150 extra for just a 3G card and 4GB extra memory doesn’t really make sense.
Closing Thought – Que’s price is not right
Yesterday, the Samsung was a disappointment because it was a bit expensive at $399. Today, the lowest priced Que is $649.
Compare it with the $489 Kindle DX and the $160 difference isn’t justified –
- Que does support Word, Excel etc. and have a larger screen.
- It claims to support zoom in PDFs and the larger screen is a good fit for PDFs.
- However, there’s no Free Internet, and no 3G wireless.
- There isn’t a Text to Speech feature either.
Most of all, the Kindle DX is expensive to begin with. Que’s entry-level model at $649 is just too expensive.
By April 2010 we might see a lot change (Apple iSlate, Kindle 3) and the Que Business eReader at $649 is going to look even more expensive.