The middle of the 2010 is not a good time for struggling gadgets. Both Microsoft and Plastic Logic have put in doubt the future of two highly touted devices – one that’s already on the market and one that hasn’t seen the light of day.
Both the Microsoft Kin phone and the Que ProReader device are on shaky ground. The Kin was launched just six weeks ago by the Redmond-based company and hoped to blend social networking with cell phones. The Que ProReader was (or is) an intriguing eReader introduced at CES this year that was specifically tailored to the business audience.
Neither company, it should be noted, has made a formal announcement specifically about their respective products' fate. Microsoft issued a statement that it had decided to focus exclusively on the upcoming Windows Phone 7 and would not be launching Kin in Europe this fall as planned. The Kin team was being integrated with the Windows Phone 7 team.
The company plans to keep working with Verizon with current phones, but it doesn’t sound like many (or any) updates are coming – and new models aren’t likely either.
It’s not a completely shocking move. The Kin has struggled to find an audience since launch, in large part due to price.
The Que’s fate came into doubt when Plastic Logic delayed it for the second time this year – declining to give a new target ship date and canceling all pre-orders. (It was originally scheduled to ship in mid-April.)
The eReader had many intriguing qualities, including an 8.5x11 inch touchscreen and the ability to read Word and PowerPoint presentations, as well as digital books and PDFs. It could also sync with Outlook, giving users access to email and their calendar.
The hurdle – and it was a big one – was price. The device cost a whopping $650 to $800, more than five times more expensive than current eReaders – and more than many iPad models.