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Plastic Logic cancels Que e-reader

After several delays and amid rapidly falling prices, the start-up says it has canceled plans for the pricey book and document reader.

In a move that will probably surprise few, Plastic Logic announced Tuesday that it's canceling plans for its pricey Que e-reader.

Plastic Logic had already delayed the Que several times after showing early versions of the product for years. Starting at $649, the Que was priced well above the iPad and many notebook computers, not to mention all other e-readers on the market. And that was before a recent spate of price cuts that has pushed the price of the Kindle, Nook, and many other devices below $200.

Plastic Logic on Tuesday officially canceled its pricey and oft-delayed Que e-reader, seen here. Plastic Logic

"We recognize the market has dramatically changed, and with the product delays we have experienced, it no longer makes sense for us to move forward with our first-generation electronic reading product," Plastic Logic CEO Richard Archuleta said in a statement. "This was a hard decision, but (it) is the best one for our company, our investors and our customers."

A planned April launch was postponed until summer. Then, in June, the company canceled preorders of the device, further casting doubt on the product's future.

Plastic Logic first showed a prototype e-reader at Demo in 2007 and has displayed it frequently at technology trade shows since, promising attendees of the 2009 D: All Things Digital conference that they would be getting the device once it launched.

As part of Tuesday's announcement, Plastic Logic said it will work on a next-generation product and continue developing its plastic electronics technology. (No word on whether D attendees will get this second-generation product or if they should give up hope for a freebie.)

"We plan to take the necessary time needed to reenter the market as we refocus, redesign and retool for our next-generation ProReader product," Archuleta said. "We are fortunate to have investors who are confident and committed to our company's long-term success in commercializing plastic electronics. We thank them, along with our partners and suppliers, and most especially our first customers, for their support, dedication and patience--and for standing with us to pioneer the plastic electronics revolution."

Plastic Logic also declined to comment on a report in the Financial Times that it might sell a significant take of itself to a Russian state-owned company.

Below is a video of Archuleta showing me the Que at CES back in January. At the time, he assured me the high price tag wouldn't be an obstacle.

Despite the fact the product cost more than a laptop, Archuleta said, "We think the pricing works for the customers we are targeting...This device fills a gap."