Dubbed the “txtr beagle,” the e-reader is 5 millimeters thick (on its thin side, 14 millimeters thick where the battery goes in) with a 5-inch e-ink display, weighs 128 grams and will cost as little as €9.90 ($12.82), the company announced today at the Frankfurt Book Fair in a statement.
The e-reader doesn’t have any cables or WiFi capabilities and works on AAA batteries that last a year and a bluetooth connection to an Android device. Readers who have the Android txtr app on their smartphone or tablet with bluetooth can download books to the app and then send them to the reader. (An iOS app is reportedly on the way.)
By comparison, the Kobo Mini is about 10 millimeters thick with a 5-inch e-ink display and 134 grams. At $79.99, it offers far greater functionality but at roughly six times the price. (There is also an e-reader with a 4.3-inch e-ink screen from German device manufacturer Trekstor called the Pyrus Mini which retails at €50.)
At about $13, the txtr e-reader represents a new low for e-reader pricing. Currently, the cheapest e-reader on the market in the U.S. is the $69 6-inch Kindle with WiFi. There has been speculation that a free e-reader will come on the market in the next several years.
The txtr device is aimed at the market of potential readers who own smartphones but who do not yet have an e-reader or tablet reading device. Part of the business strategy is to help cell phone service operators break into the e-book market.
“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,” said txtr chief commercial officer Thomas Leliveld in the company’s statement.
The company is currently in conversations with potential partners in Asia, Europe and the U.S., it said.
Here are the product specifications for the new device:
Dimensions: 140 mm by 105 mm by 4.8 mm (14 mm on the battery side)
Weight: 128 g
Display: 5-inch e-ink display; 8-level grey scale; 800 x 600 pixels
Screen: Non-glass touch-screen
Connectivity: Bluetooth to txtr Android app
Storage: 4 gigabytes for up to five books
Available Colors: Jade Green, Grapefruit, Turquoise, Purple
Comes with two AAA batteries
Price: €9.90, to start
Watch a product video here: