The ebook reader war is on with most major vendors adding more features for a lower price. But do you really need all that “fancy stuff” like a backlight, WiFi, 3G or an 8 week inbuilt battery? Well if German company txtr has their way, you’ll be saying no.
The txtr beagle has a 5″ e-ink screen with an 8-level grayscale and an 800 x 600 resolution, 4GB of memory and a Bluetooth module. No fancy batteries here; it’s powered by 2 AA batteries, which they claim will allow you to read up to 12-15 books (handy if you’re somewhere where recharging an inbuilt battery is a problem). It’s available in 4 different back cover colours: Jade Green, Grapefruit, Violet and Turquoise. The unit only weights 128 grams (4.5 oz) compared with the new Kindle Paperwhite which weight 213 grams ( 7.5 oz).
Books are transferred via Bluetooth from the txtr Android app on your smartphone to the beagle. The most interesting thing is that it appears that the beagle isn’t being marketed as a standalone e-book reader. txtr is talking to Telco carriers about offering it as a subsidised smartphone accessory. In doing so, they hope to get the price down as low as €9.90 ($13).
For that price it’d be worth getting even if you do have another e-reader.
Click after the break for the full press release.
txtr beagle, the world’s smallest eReader, unlocks eBook potential for network operators
The new 5″ eReader is not only the smallest and lightest in its class, it also delivers more than one year reading experience. It does not require any cables or chargers, giving consumers a unique out-of-box experience to read their eBooks within seconds. It is the first companion reader to receive eBooks sent from a smartphone. This is the eReader telecom operators have been waiting for.
txtr, Europe’s leading eReading solution provider, today announced a brand new unique eReader, the txtr beagle. The txtr beagle is designed to do best what eReaders are intended for: read digital books. The txtr beagle, read | only™.
Only 100cc, the txtr beagle is the smallest eReader in the world – mostly just 5mm thick. It weighs just 128 grams, making it the world’s lightest 5″ or 6″ eInk eReader available. This device fits easily in any pocket or handbag. Unlike other eReaders, there is no need for chargers or cables, nor is there any installation. The product comes with two AAA batteries that enable users to read for more than one year, after which these can simply be replaced. The location of the batteries not only creates an elegant silhouette but also becomes an ergonomic feature as it rests easily in the palm of a hand. The device can be personalized with back-covers in four vivid fashionable colours. For business customers the screen can be customized too.
Users can start reading any of the preloaded eBooks or book previews in seconds by simply switching the device on and selecting the book of choice. The txtr beagle communicates with the txtr Android reading application, to add more eBooks. Pair the txtr beagle with the smartphone using the standard Bluetooth protocol. Any eBooks or documents available in the user’s library can be transferred to the device with just one click. Font-size and orientation are set on the smartphone in the app once. The txtr beagle is part of the overall Adobe certified txtr eReading platform, but does not count as an extra device. The txtr beagle is equipped with a 5″ eInk display that is known for its excellent performance and contrast. It offers a superior reading experience outdoors in sun light, compared to LCD screens.
Unlocking the mass market
The product was designed to unlock a huge, untapped go-to-market channel with tens of millions of customers, many of whom are not yet accustomed to digital reading. The txtr beagle is targeted to the 80% of the population that want an easy-to-use, stylish, light device with excellent display performance for reading.
Thomas Leliveld, Chief Commercial Officer at txtr says: “So far network operators have not actively marketed eReading. In our view, this is because of the lack of a suitable device, which matches the crucial conditions relevant to the operator business model. Our new product connects with popular smartphones. The txtr beagle and txtr’s eBook store drive incremental ARPU from eBook sales, with a high RoI since data costs are low for eReading during the contract period. From discussions with network operators, we foresee the txtr beagle to be available to consumers for a price as low as €9.90. That is up txtr GmbH, Rosenthaler to ten times cheaper than other eReaders in the market, which will certainly drive adoption and eBook sales.”
Weight, size and battery life do matter for mobile devices. The txtr beagle excels in each of them, since it was developed to unlock a new distribution channel that holds tens of millions of active users. txtr wants the network operators to partner in helping to grow the number of consumers reading digital books, at a much faster pace. The company is in conversations with potential partners in Asia, Europe and the USA.
Leliveld states that depending on market and consumer reaction to the product, txtr will consider offering the product directly in some of its ten online eBook stores with local content across Europe and the USA.
txtr, liberate reading
Display: Gray Scale : 8-levels gray scale
Resolution: 800 x 600 pixels
Screen: Vizplex™ eInk, 5 inches
Weights and Measurements Weight (Approx.): 128 grams (with batteries); 111 grams (without batteries)
Dimensions (Approx.): 140 x 105 x 4.8mm (on thin side) / 14mm (on battery side)
Volume: 100 cm 3
LED: Red and blue LED on front side indicates the Bluetooth state and battery power state.
Operating Conditions: 0°C to +45°C
Media Formats: All files supported by the smartphone or PC host application (e.g. epub, pdf).
Recommended Battery Types: AAA, 1.5V lithium, alkaline batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries
Battery Life (Approx): Read for more than 1 year*
Memory: 4GB; Number of books cached: Up to 5
System Requirements: To get more books from user’s library requires (1) pairing via Bluetooth of smartphone (2) txtr Android app with beagle support (in beta).
Available Colors: Jade Green, Grapefruit, Turquoise, Purple
In the Box: txtr beagle 2 AAA Batteries, Quick Start Guide
*12-15 books per year with normal use. Actual lifetime may vary by battery type.