Thursday, January 29, 2009

The next P-I might be electronic, and on a plastic sheet

Plastic Logic, a privately held Silicon Valley startup that plans to begin field testing its version of an e-reader later this year, says it will announce the identity of its first publishing partners at the O’Reilly conference. The company has been working for more than a year with Hearst’s secretive e-paper venture, FirstPaper, in Palo Alto. Plastic Logic officials confirm that their 8.5-inch-by-11-inch display screen is designed to accommodate traditional newspaper layouts.

Hearst had been looking at flexible screens for its new e-paper, but Plastic Logic spokeswoman Betty Taylor told Crosscut that while her company’s wireless e-reader can operate on flexible material like plastic film or foil, Plastic Logic’s consumer testing shows readers prefer a more rigid display. Plastic Logic’s reader will be about a quarter inch thick and have a considerably larger screen than Amazon’s wireless e-reader, the Kindle.

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