Tuesday, October 13, 2009

B&N 'color' Plastic Logic e-reader report was wrong

Jenn  iPhoned a much-distributed and tweeted video-interview with an alleged Barnes and Noble spokesguy who went on and on about how B&N's e-reader (in partnership with Plastic Logic) would be out in the Spring and "Ours will be in color" -- so, a posting to this effect went up on Mashable "on the big news" and was carried by Engadget, FastCompany, WIRED, et al, as reported by Jenn.   (Click on image to see the video.)

  I didn't run (or walk) with it because nothing in the guy's report matched what Plastic Logic has been saying the past half year and why would a Barnes and Noble salesman sitting at an exhibit be suddenly informally announcing a Plastic Logic color E-reader for the spring?
  (There'd be no way for Jenn to know this though.)

MobilitySite, which had also reported the interview and the color news, reports today that Plastic Logic has denied the report.
' "The video report is inaccurate and the individual (who was apparently filmed while attending a trade show was not an authorized Barnes & Noble spokesperson) was misinformed.

  We are excited to have Barnes & Noble powering the Plastic Logic e-commerce store.  While colour is on Plastic Logic’s roadmap, it is not on the map for the Spring of 2010. &n bsp;Plastic Logic has said for quite some time it is working on colour, but not for a product in the coming year." '
  Well, I doubt that he just attended the tradeshow and put on a B&N shirt and lanyard and readied himself for interviews (while around actual B&N staff) for the sport of it.  More likely, he was a temp staffer helping with B&N's exhibit, misinterpreted what he was hearing from employee conversations, and then eagerly passed that on when interviewed.
 People get overexcited by the word "color" when it comes to e-readers.

 He didn't, as speculated, probably make it up as a video-worthy answer to her question of what made the B&N reader better than its competitor(s), as they kiddingly refer to the Kindle);  he actually mentioned earlier in the video, w/o being asked, that it would be in color.

  As for why B&N didn't instead choose to quietly retract it or just say instead that "it may be not be ready by Spring 'exactly' -- what?  It's not going to be ready in the coming year.  They've been very clear about that.

Any color we see will be of the LCD variety, unless Pixel QI is involved.  E-ink color just is not ready.

  I recently got a 10" Netbook that I will be writing about.  I love it, and one thing it's shown me is why any Tablet device may not do that well after all, if as high-priced as reported and marketed in a big way for reading of entire e-books along with web browsing, though the latter would be a fun use of it using home or office WiFi.

  But trying to read an actual book on a 10" LCD color screen is not going to be one of the world's big pleasures.  Surfing the net?  That's another matter entirely and doesn't demand linear concentration of the eyes on only words for a good length of time.

  One thing about e-reader news today - wishful thinking drives a lot of it.  But there's an energy in gadget excitement that I definitely understand too well. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Hi Andrys,

    Did you see this take on a B & N “color” reader?


  2. Batman,
    I saw the original Gizmodo some hours before and then a bunch of Google News stories commenting on the Gizmodo one, as this one does, but not one of them had what it would take to do what I described as "wishful thinking" in reporting and actually refer to the color model rumor being even remotely a "valid" one! I think some were embarrassed to believe that rumor w/o hesitation.

    However, it's actually quite 'pretty' in the iPod way and that's what counts for some of the reviewers and buyers. Not the features for note-taking, dictionary use, highlighting, or searching, but Wow, color! in the bottom LCD part for ads.

    But I think it IS nice to see the covers in color. However, it would be even more disappointing for those who lust after color like this, in an E-Reader, to then find themselves reading a Black and White book with gray illustrations.

    What I'm interested in is whether or not the Barnes and Noble e-reader here has an e-ink screen that is THAT white or whether they are joining Amazon in using special studio lighting which will give that whiter look (which it does have in bright sunlight).

    I see people are hoping it's not a proprietary format, and of course it is. It won't be readable on Sony or Kindle.

    And another commenter is excited because this will be great for surfing the web -- as if the e-reader were going to have that capability and in that tiny a window have it useful.

    Nice design though, isn't it. I like the looks.

    - Andrys

  3. Andrys,

    I think I'm pretty much in line with you in terms of the design being attractive on a "Oooh, look at that!" basis, but it doesn't look like this one has enough of an added marginal value for me to invest in. Of course, that's probably the intent on a lot of levels, i.e., to try to get a toehold in some unclaimed segments ("Vive la difference!"). I find all the reports of forthcoming and rumored new products are really helping me crystallize in my mind what are the most desirable features for me in large part by identifying some things I DON'T care about, as much or more so than matching my “wish list.” Guess you’ll be winging your way to Egypt soon, so enjoy!

  4. Am winging my way out of the house for awhile but will be back later on all this :-) But, exactly what you said !

    - Andrys


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the blogger.com "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the 'blogger.com' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]