German company unveils $12 ereader

Posted by Mark Raby

If you thought Amazon's Kindle was cheap, get a load of the Beagle.

It's a new ereading device from a German company called Txtr. With a small 5-inch display and a thickness of just 5mm, it is clearly the smallest alternative to the Kindle to date.

Because it is so small, the price is incredibly low. Txtr plans to put the device on the market for less than 10 euros ($13).

Other factors that help lower the cost of the device are that it does not have a touchscreen and actually doesn't even have WiFi access.

Instead, it incorporates Bluetooth technology. The thought process there is that users pretty much always have their smartphones with them, so they can just beam ebooks from their phone to the Beagle.

For now, the only phone platform compatible with the Beagle is Android. However, there will soon be connectivity with the iPhone and iPad, as well as computers.

For a long time, Amazon's Kindle was one of the hottest devices on the market. Its extraordinary battery life and the way its display was so easy on the eyes made it a true marvel in electronic books.

However, as the fervor in the tablet world started growing stronger and stronger, the online retailer shifted gears and built the Kindle Fire, an LCD tablet that is in some ways antithetical to the Kindle brand.

After all, Amazon had a whole ad campaign about how the Kindle is better because it doesn't use LCD and it can go days and days without a recharge. The Kindle Fire is fully equipped with those apparent shortcomings.

Nevertheless, it seemed everyone was heading in the tablet direction. Barnes & Noble also seemed to abandon its e-ink Nook models for the more feature-rich Nook Color and Nook Tablet.

So it is great to see the original ereader mold back in the limelight, and with new bells and whistles that make e-ink the star once again.