Innovative E-Book Hits Hard Times

Please tell me it isn't dead.

In the search for the perfect e-book (and I am always on the hunt), the Readius was an intriguing contender. But several recent reports say the company developing it, Netherlands-based Polymer Vision, has run into financing difficulties and put the device on hold. That would be a shame, because the Readius is unlike any other e-reader I've come across.

In prototype, it is a pocket-sized gadget about the size of a pack of cigarettes. What sets it apart is the flexible, flip-out screen. Open the thing up, and you unfold a 5-inch display. Finish reading and fold it up again, clip it closed and stuff it back in your pocket. The company claimed it had tested the screen's flexibility more than 25,000 times and discovered no degradation in readability.

Like the Kindle, the Readius would have a high-speed wireless connection for downloading books on the run. The screen uses high-resolution, low power E-Ink.

The device also was designed as a mobile phone.

Hints that development of the pioneering e-book was struggling came last year after it missed its original launch planned for parts of Europe in the fall. In an interview with in July 2008, Polymer Vision chief executive Karl McGoldrick said the Readius was ready for the market and the future looked "superb." Contacted this week, the company didn't reply to questions about the Readius's reported demise.

Last month McGoldrick told CNET news: "We're working hard to find new investors to take over and restart and get our technology and product into the market, where it should be."

Some geeks online have trashed the idea of flexible screens, but to this aspiring geek, the Readius looks cool.

Have a look yourself at this promotional video.

By Steven E. Levingston |  August 6, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
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Oh man, THAT's the multi-purpose phone I'd buy without hesitation. I don't need all the stuff on the iPhone, but that would be great. Hope they find an investor.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | August 6, 2009 10:26 AM

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