$13 Txtr Beagle is the smallest and cheapest E Ink ereader around

By on October 10, 2012, 6:30 PM

Although Amazon's most affordable Kindle is now only $69, German company Txtr believes there's plenty of room for competition in the budget ereader market, unveiling a new device that costs about as much as a paperback. At €10 (about $13), the new Txtr Beagle is easily the least expensive E Ink-equipped ereader around -- though, as you might expect, that price brings a pretty barren feature set.

For instance, the Beagle doesn't have Wi-Fi or 3G or a built-in rechargeable battery, it only packs a five-inch 800x600 non-backlit E Ink display, and you'll need a smartphone to transfer data to the device. That last part is a key piece of the puzzle, as Txtr reportedly plans to offer the Beagle as a smartphone accessory through carries such as AT&T and Sprint, which explains its too-good-to-be-true price.

Txtr provides an Android 4.0 application (an iOS app is due soon) and this lets you shift content from your handset to the Beagle over Bluetooth, which seems to be the device's only baked-in connectivity. As noted, there's no integrated battery, so there's not even a power jack. The Beagle runs off two AAA batteries, which supposedly provide more than a year's worth of reading time (or about 12 to 15 books).

The Beagle has 4GB of integrated storage and no card slot. It's worth noting that the company's site says the ereader can only cache up to five books at a time. Some folks have taken this to mean that it can hold just five books at once, but that doesn't make sense given the 4GB of storage. More likely, you can have five books open for quick access at any time. Hopefully Txtr clarifies this specification.

While the Beagle's five-inch screen may be a little more cramped than the cheapest Kindle's five-inch display, its compact nature allows Txtr to better market the device as a smartphone companion. The company says its ereader is the lightest and smallest offering available, weighing only 128 grams with batteries (111 grams without) and measuring 140 x 105 x 4.8mm (14mm where the batteries go).

It's unclear if Txtr will sell the Beagle as a standalone, unsubsidized unit, but the company plans to provide means of transferring books from Bluetooth-equipped PCs. Even if the device is only officially available through carriers, we'd expect it to appear on auction sites for a slight premium and you wouldn't need a smartphone. At $20, it would still be a decent value and give hackers a cheap toy to play with.




User Comments: 14

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Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I really see no point in this product. Its like saying "Lets do everything I can do on my phone anyways...but in black and white!"

Ahmed90 Ahmed90 said:

If its so small and needs a smartphone so you can manage it .. why not reading on the smartphone in first place :p

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Try sitting outside and reading ANYTHING on your amoled screen (until its battery runs out after a couple of hours) - then look at the e-ink screen and the sorts of questions asked in the previous posts just vanish . . . .(as does what you are trying to read on your phone, tablet etc.)

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I really see no point in this product. Its like saying "Lets do everything I can do on my phone anyways...but in black and white!"

If its so small and needs a smartphone so you can manage it .. why not reading on the smartphone in first place :p
Tell me about it, I don't understand the desire in having an eReader at all. Whats next, a specific device made for only reading emails but yet you have to use your phone to download them?

ramonsterns said:

Try sitting outside and reading ANYTHING on your amoled screen (until its battery runs out after a couple of hours) - then look at the e-ink screen and the sorts of questions asked in the previous posts just vanish . . . .(as does what you are trying to read on your phone, tablet etc.)

I have to agree with Guest. Battery life is really short on smart phones, specially if you used it for powering your screen long enough to read a bookchapter.

ikesmasher said:

I cant even read ereaders. im a huge techie and I have to do normal books. idk why.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

First of all, I think it's cool. For one thing because I can imagine how it works. Around 6 years ago I had a personal project to create an e-reader, and my thought was using an inexpensive microcontroller and encoding books as BW images. I'm guessing that's what Txtr is doing, and why it's only able to store 5 books in its 4GB.

You know, I should have patented the idea and litigated the hell out of them. Not. Really, if I'm right about the implementation, then design-wise it's very close to what I had in mind, including the use of normal batteries.

What I like about this is the cost. It's something that if you break or lose, you can just go buy another one.

Guest said:

How irrigate, nobody speaking in this video, they are not humanoids just robots or what, interesting needware product and cheap, but I never buy cause this stupid ad remember always if I touch, forget

Guest said:

I can't agree with "guest" or ramonsterns, ebooks are fine on my phone, and the battery lasts for days - ergo no need for cheaper readers.

gamoniac said:

Try sitting outside and reading ANYTHING on your amoled screen (until its battery runs out after a couple of hours) - then look at the e-ink screen and the sorts of questions asked in the previous posts just vanish . . . .(as does what you are trying to read on your phone, tablet etc.)

I have to agree with Guest. Battery life is really short on smart phones, specially if you used it for powering your screen long enough to read a bookchapter.

Agreed. Pretty much every e-reader owner still carries a cell phone. So the remaining question for a potential buyer is just -- which e-reader: Nook, Kindle, or TxtrBeagle?

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@ET3D if your idea is how it works, downloading a book ?750mb ? downloading it and sending through cellphone bluetooth... OUCH!

I would've loved it to have wifi instead of a bluetooth module, even for a couple more bucks.

I'm pretty sure the lack of connectivity makes this a bad choice for a hacker toy.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest who reads on his phone, what phone do you have?

Frankly, I dislike the slow refresh of e-ink displays, but I'd still prefer an e-ink based reader to a phone. Then again, I don't like 4.8" display phones. I think that I'd enjoy reading more on a 7" tablet.

Guest said:

This would be great for kids. At these prices I could see a private school using these to replace textbooks. Churches using them to replace hymnals or even handed out by employers for industries that rely heavily on training manuals etc...Replace all kinds of printed items.

Guest said:

I take it you don't read much on on your smartphone? If you did you'd realize how the IMOLED burns your retinas. E-ink displays are like reading a newspaper.

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