When Professors Richard Friend and Henning Sirringhaus established(?) the science behind Plastic Logic’s technology and with Stuart Evans spun the company out of Cambridge University in 2000 who would have thought that nine years later they would launch a product into a crowded market. The Que ebook reader launched yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show is competing in a ferociously competitive market currently dominated by Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. Yesterday Samsung joined the party and according to the DT “a host of other companies including Indian start-up Notion Ink, are expected to use the trade fair to launch rival products”. The main beneficiary of this high growth market is another Cambridge Cluster company, ARM, as most of the devices run on its smartphone chip designs.
The one unique selling point of the Cue is that the Plastic Logic technology does not require a glass screen which is heavy and breakable. But this does not allow a cheaper price and Apple’s rumoured iSlate is “guaranteed” to have a better comprehensive catalogue and an intuitive interface to browse and download titles from the hyped iStore.
How I hope that the Apple iSlate uses the Plastic Logic screen and an ARM chip with a sticker “Cambridge Cluster Core, trademark (c)” on the front – then the buying decision will be simple. But will I need my iPhone as well or do I go back to a simple phone and use the iSlate on wi-fi? I have 3G turned off to save battery power and because I am usually in a wi-fi environment. Will I need to sleep outside a shop in the Cambridge Cluster to be first in the Queue for a Cue?
It just goes to show that the even using the best business plan resource to work out the funding of Plastic Logic, you need to back an academic who can make the switch to marketing and driving the business forward. But turning academics into marketing and product people is perhaps asking one person to have a talent too much.
PS Zemanta still has not picked out any pictures of the Cue……..