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B&N to sell Plastic Logic Que along with Nook

In early 2010, Barnes & Noble will promote and sell Plastic Logic's larger and more sophisticated Que proReader in its retail outlets and in its online store, giving customers a choice of e-book readers.

Plastic Logic

Plastic Logic and Barnes & Noble announced on Tuesday that Plastic Logic's Que proReader will be sold through Barnes & Noble's retail stores and on B&N's Web site in 2010. The Que is Plastic Logic's long-awaited e-reader that is not set to be officially unveiled until January 7 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but both companies continue to promote the device vigorously as Barnes & Noble gets set to launch its Nook e-book reader in November.

While Plastic Logic has yet to show a full profile image of the Que, it has provided some details. The device will feature a larger, "shatterproof" 8.5-inch by 11-inch e-ink display with an integrated capacitive touch screen--it's unclear whether the touch screen is a separate, smaller color LCD like the one found on the Nook or whether the entire display will be a touch screen--and have Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G wireless capabilities, like the $259 Nook does.

The slim Que (one-third inch thick), which is geared toward mobile professionals, is supposed to be able to handle PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents as well as having tools for "interacting with and managing the content." Most pundits expect the Que to a more sophisticated e-reader with more processing horsepower than existing models and a higher price tag--we're guessing at least $400.

Both Barnes & Noble and Plastic Logic suggest that as such the two models won't really be competing against each other even if they'll be on display near each other in stores. The news release notes that the two readers represent a choice for Barnes & Noble's customers "based on their reading needs." Just as importantly, the additional device also helps Barnes & Noble foster the impression that its e-book platform has a strong foundation with multiple business partners.

What do you think? Is it a good strategic move or will having two readers on display at stores be confusing for potential buyers?