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Flexible e-reader, the Readius, is dead

The maker of the Readius--a strange-looking, if ambitious device--has reportedly gone out of business.

Polymer Vision's dream of an all-in-one e-book reader and portable media device has reportedly faded.

Polymer Vision Readius
The Readius in action: the flexible E-Ink screen folds out. Erica Ogg/CNET

The Netherlands-based maker of the Readius folded recently, according to a report in England's Hampshire Chronicle. The company was a spinoff of Philips and had offices in Southampton in the U.K. The local paper says 50 jobs at the Southampton location were lost when the company went bankrupt on July 7.

The Readius was a strange-looking, if ambitious device. Part portable media device, part e-reader, the Readius was innovative in that it used a flexible E-Ink display so it could be folded up to be made smaller. It initially caught the attention of gadget hounds at the Mobile World Congress in early 2008, and was supposed to launch in fall of 2008.

In that time, the e-reader landscape has since totally changed. While the Sony Reader has remained mostly stagnant, Amazon's Kindle has bested most initial cautious expectations for the original device. The larger model meant for textbooks, the Kindle DX, was also warmly received when introduced earlier this year. While these three models run between $300 and $500, the Readius and its flexible display was bound to be much more expensive to produce and would likely have been a tough sell to readers.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. PDT: Polymer Vision President Karl McGoldrick confirmed Monday that the company has gone into bankruptcy, but said he is not ditching the product. "We're working hard to find new investors to take over and re-start and get our technology and product into the market, where it should be," he said in an e-mail to CNET News.