Print 17 comment(s) - last by flubaluba.. on Oct 13 at 12:58 PM

Reader lacks Li-ion batteries and 3G/WiFi connectivity, but has all the basics, slick form factor

An e-reader for $13 USD?  Say it ain't so.

This one falls under the almost too good to be true category, but it turns out it's real, thanks to a German company called "Txtr", which doubles as an e-book vendor.  

Dubbed the "txtr beagle", the company brags the e-reader is the world's thinnest and lightest e-reader device, weighing a mere 0.282 lb (128 grams) and measuring a mere 0.197 in. (5 mm) thick.  The 5-inch (diagonal) footprint packs a 800x600 eight-level grayscale E-INK display, similar to the displays in older Kindles.

The device has no expandable memory, but has 4 GB worth of NAND flash storage -- enough for 5 cached books.  Common formats such as epub and pdf are supported.

So far the device is exclusively for owners of Android smartphones (which, to be fair, there's plenty of).  This restriction is due to how e-books are pushed to the device.  As it lacks any sort of port, e-books trickle to the device via Bluetooth pairing with a special txtr app, which is currently Android-exclusive.

If that works for you, the device is available in four colorful body options:
  • Jade Green
  • Grapefruit
  • Purple
  • Turquoise
Txtr Beagle

The only other downside to the $13 USD device is that it has no built-in charger/battery pack.  However, thanks to hibernation technology txtr promises the reader's 2 AAA batteries are good for either a year of standby or 12-15 books.

For comparison's sake, Inc.'s (AMZN) cheapest ad-supported Kindle e-reader is $69 USD.  A critical caveat?  As well-priced as the txtr beagle may be, it does not appear to be currently available -- the device's homepage suggests interested customers sign up for an email list.  Whether this can prove a "Kindle-killer" could boil down to how quickly txtr can bring actual physical product to market.

Source: txtr beagle

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By tastyratz on 10/11/2012 12:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
too bad it has no port or windows app. I would love a burner e-reader like this for things like service manuals in the garage and cookbooks in the kitchen. I wouldn't care if I got grease or cake batter on them.
I would pay the extra $5 for a usb port or wifi imho

RE: bummer
By nafhan on 10/11/2012 12:59:23 PM , Rating: 3
It is kind of a weird restriction as you wouldn't even need additional hardware for Windows/OSX/iOS: most laptops and pretty much all Apple devices have Bluetooth built in.

I'm guessing the reason has to do with this:
"German company called "Txtr" , which doubles as an e-book vendor ."
They're selling eBooks, and by forcing you to use an app, they can also force you to at least look at their book catalog in hopes that you'll buy something. At $13, you've got to expect some kind of catch.

Still... I will be watching this, and if they deliver what's described here in the article, I'm buying one.

RE: bummer
By GotThumbs on 10/11/2012 1:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
Not really weird IMO.

Apple has a similar controlling business method where you can only use their market place. Users are forced to enter/use Apple's walled garden "Itunes" for all kinds of content...not just e-books.

Most business are seeing how easy it has been for Apple to restrict their own why not follow suit? Apples Billions in the bank is an enticing incentive to follow the same model.

RE: bummer
By othercents on 10/11/2012 1:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
This might be more of a restriction on the Apple iPhone or iPad side than an issue with 'Txtr. I seam to remember iPhone 3G being restricted to only connecting to bluetooth headsets and the complaint of not being able to play music through the bluetooth headset.

'Txtr does have an application for Android, iPhone, iPad, PC, and Mac. It is understandable not to enable this for PC, but my preference would be to get a bluetooth connector for my desktop to sync kids books with.


RE: bummer
By nafhan on 10/11/2012 5:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think the iPhone 3g thing may have been a hardware issue: older versions of Bluetooth had lower data rates, and what's adequate for 16kbps (or lower) voice channel, may not be enough for music. In this case, we're talking about transferring data or... transferring data.

I'm pretty sure this is a purposeful decision rather than a hardware or software limitation.

RE: bummer
By sprockkets on 10/12/2012 11:27:18 AM , Rating: 2
Phones that came out before the original iPhone had audio over bt. Apple just didn't have it ready nor was it a priority.

RE: bummer
By kmmatney on 10/11/2012 1:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they did it this way to prevent piracy, since you have to upload the books from a special app. Probably a good idea. It's way to easy too download/pirate ePub books. I've downloaded a lot of out-of-print books to my iPad straight from Safari.

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