Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/10/plastic_logic/
Plastic Logic rolling in government roubles
Russian money, but still no product
E-Reader prototyper Plastic Logic has hooked in some Russian cash to continue operations, and will be opening a Russian factory to start the manufacture of something or other.
We don't know exactly what that factory will be making, or how much money the Russian tax-payer is investing. Plastic Logic officially gave up on the Que Reader back in August, and has yet to explain what its next product will be, which was understandable given the cash-flow situation. But that's changed now if it has Russian cash to play with - from RUSNANO, the state-run fund devoted to promoting nanotechnology expansion in Russia.
"As a global company, we evaluated multiple countries for our expansion efforts and ultimately Russia offered the best strategic partnership opportunity" says the canned statement from Plastic Logic’s CFO, but it's hard to imagine that many companies were rushing to pour money into a company that had failed to produce anything despite its cutting-edge technology.
And Plastic Logic's technology is cutting, perhaps bleeding, edge - printing electronic circuits in plastic to create unbreakable screens. But turning that into products has proved complicated and expensive.
The Que was impressive during demonstrations, but never made it into production, despite the company announcing a manufacturing facility in Dresden. That factory will "continue with production of the company’s first commercial product" according to the release, and will also be joined by one somewhere in Russia.
The RUSNANO release is rather more direct, explaining (as Google translates): "Plastic Logic is the creator and owner of a significant amount of intellectual property in plastic electronics". That will be the intellectual property which was developed in Cambridge, by Cambridge University researchers, and is now owned by a Mountain View company which is being funded by the Russian state.
Despite never making it into production, a Que reader prototype is on display at Churchill College at the moment, as part of an exhibition showcasing technical innovations the college has inspired over the last 50 years. Might be worth dropping by, as the next Plastic Logic product will probably be in Cyrillic, if it gets into production at all. ®