Plastic Logic Ltd on AT&T, a Kindle for pros ?

Barnes & Nobles is claiming its leadership back as the leading library in the ebook arena. After all, its Bookstore app is the first of its kind in App Store downloads, and it's about to cash in after purchasing Fictionwise. ebooks already represent over 4% of book sales, and CAGR means we will soon enter into over 10% territories, meaning the real mass market thing.

B&N eBoosktore (bn.com/ebooks) proposes 700,000 titles, more than twice Amazon's catalog... not to mention Google's public domain books (over half a million titles). But Barnes & Nobles doesn't propose a double user generated content platform : Amazon competes with classic editors (Booksurge) as well as with such pure players as Lulu.com (CreateSpace).

eReader is available on such smartphone platforms as Blackberry or iPhone. New devices keep coming out of the pipe if not on the shelves yet.

B&N will be exclusive provider for Plastic Logic's eReader (plastic display, electronic ink, touchscreen, 8.5 x 11 x .25 inches - see plasticlogic.com). This newcomer, founded and run by senior managers and researchers from the PC world (HP for CEO Richard Archuleta, Hitachi for Pr Henning Sirringhaus...), supported by big names in VC (including Intel and Siemens), and boasting locations in California (not far from Big G in Mountain View), UK (Cambridge), and Germany (Dresden) is also discussing with all press groups to sex up its big screen.

But novels or newspapers are not the key content here : the idea is to give business users a new gizmo to manipulate all kinds of documents and presentations (PDF, Word, Excel, PPT...) on the go. Thus the touch screen and the wireless connectivity. I guess the idea is to build a niche between classic ebook readers and Tablet PCs.

Trials with AT&T are about to start, targeting a commercial launch "early 2010".

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