Plastic Logic will make flexible polymer displays and launch its product in January.
This Wednesday, Cambridge University startup Plastic Logic, which is headquartered in Mountain View, CA, will open a factory in Dresden, Germany, that will produce about 11 million large, flexible electronic-paper display units a year. The displays will be used in an electronic reader that the company showed at the Demo conference in San Diego last week. The product, which is scheduled to be commercially launched in January, uses display technology from E Ink and backplane technologies that employ polymer electronics developed by Plastic Logic's founders at Cambridge University.
Plastic Logic is banking that there's room on the market for another e-book, this one targeted at businesspeople who want to read documents and newspapers on a lightweight, robust device with a large display. Several portable electronic readers already on the market also employ the E Ink display technology and enable users to take thousands of pages of documents on the road. Amazon's Kindle and the Sony Reader have six-inch screens--about the size of a paperback book. The Readius, made by Polymer Vision--a spinout from Philips Electronics--is the size of a cell phone and has a rollable display that stows away.
The Plastic Logic reader's screen is larger, the size of a standard sheet of paper--8.5 by 11 inches--but it doesn't weigh much more than the other readers. It weighs 13 ounces--compared with 10.3 ounces for the smaller Kindle. And it has a display on a plastic substrate, unlike the glass screen used for the Kindle and Sony Reader, which means that it is rugged. (At Demo, Plastic Logic's CEO, Richard Archuleta, showed a video of the display being whacked with a shoe and continuing to operate.)