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$13 Txtr Beagle Ebook Reader To Sell For $69

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the could-have-been-cool dept.

Books 79

Nate the greatest writes "Remember that really cheap 5" ereader that everyone was talking about back in October? It turns out that the price was too good to be true. Txtr, maker of the beagle ereader, has confirmed today that the beagle will be coming to the US market in the near future. But it's not going to cost $13. Instead this ereader will cost $69. It seems that txtr isn't having much luck selling the beagle to telecoms (where it was going to be marketed as a smartphone companion device), so they have instead decided to try to sell it in the retail trade, where it will have to directly compete against the Kindle. That is going to be a problem because the beagle is much less capable than the Kindle, even though it costs the same. The beagle won't work without a companion Android app which is needed to transfer files to the beagle over Bluetooth. That app requires Android 4.0 or above."

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$69? (0, Redundant)

mholve (1101) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128349)

Keep it.

Re:$69? (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128359)

Yeah, someone else might want it instead of a Kindle. They won't, but they might.

How does the beagle find competing against Amazon? (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128393)

Ruff.

Re:$69? (2, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128647)

Sometimes I wonder what kind of asshole would make a device so useless and restricted and then charge so much for it. But then I think, why not raise the price by two hundred dollars, make it white and then it will sell like plastic hotcakes.

P.T. Barnum was right; there's one born every second.

Re:$69? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128829)

Isn't so cool that we all have the iPad!! Hahhaha, where's yours?!?!?! Na na na na na na!!

Re:$69? (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128917)

Sometimes I wonder what kind of asshole would make a device so useless and restricted and then charge so much for it. But then I think, why not raise the price by two hundred dollars, make it white and then it will sell like plastic hotcakes.

How is the iPad "restricted" compared to a Kindle? (since that's obviously what you're alluding to)

Amazon has a Kindle app, Amazon Instant Video app, and a Cloud Player app, meaning the iPad can access all the same content as the Kindle Fire, plus all content from Apple's iBookstore and iTunes media store. You can read PDFs on an iPad as well without having to send your documents to Amazon electronically first, as well as read other non-DRMed formats.

And if you're going to talk about how Kindle's OS is based on oh-so-open Android, or how easy it is to root a Kindle to install some version of Linux, save it. It's great you're interested in that stuff but honestly 90% of the market has zero interest in doing stuff with their device the restrictions on their tablet's ecosystem have anything to do with. The tablet is by design a consumer device. As long as folks can surf the web, watch their videos, play their music and play Angry Birds there's nothing defective about the system from their point of view.

Re:$69? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129107)

How is the iPad "restricted" compared to a Kindle? (since that's obviously what you're alluding to)

I assumed he was comparing it to android. Which, although imperfect, is certainly more open than iOS. Apple touts "closed" as some sort of a feature.

Re:$69? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43135769)

What does "open" do for the average consumer?

Re:$69? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139603)

Here's a "low hanging fruit" example. The average consumer on android could run a different web browser if they wanted to. It's common enough practice that it's definitely in the realm of average consumer activities. http://apple.slashdot.org/story/13/03/10/1527255/no-firefox-for-ios-says-mozillas-product-head [slashdot.org]

Re:$69? (-1, Flamebait)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129335)

fanboi alert

Re:$69? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43129649)

All the Slashdot readers age 13 and under who couldn't figure it out for themselves are thanking you for this.

Re:$69? (2)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43135767)

Idiot alert.

As in, I never said the iPad was better. They are one and the same. Both devices made to steer their audiences towards their respective content crops by design. But it's a simple fact an iPad lets you eat from both fields, and the Kindle tablet does not (that's not Amazon's fault obviously).

The ways the Amazon Kindle Fire is superior in geek minds is ways most consumers -- and by extension, the marketplace -- don't care. Raise the Kindle to the same price as an iPad and you'll see how much "Open" is worth to the sheeple.

Re:$69? (1)

Yomers (863527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129743)

I own Kindle 3, it's not restricted at all - I can just connect it with the cable (standard micro usb, not some proprietary connector) and just copy books for future reading - no need for any special software like iTunes. It understands txt, pdf and mobi - good enough. You do not have to buy anything from Amazon to use Kindle. And Amazon provides free 3g internet anywhere in the world - so I can just read books from free online libraries in Kindle's browser.

$13 at the fire sale? (3, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128395)

I hope they make enough of them that when the product fails, they'll be able to sell them off cheap. Assuming it's easy to jailbreak, there may be uses for it.

Re: $13 at the fire sale? (1)

CodeReign (2426810) | about a year and a half ago | (#43131481)

Even at 70cad I'd buy it for its components. At 13cad I'd by a few

Re:$69? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129031)

Right! I can buy crappy Pandigital tablets (new) for less than that with an old 2.x version of Android. Work fine as an e-reader (not good for games) and don't need some other device to load them via Bluetooth. For that matter if you already have an Android tablet with Bluetooth that this piece of junk supposedly needs as a companion to work, why do you need or want this at all? The tablet can easily be used as a better e-reader.

Re:$69? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129795)

Anybody who thinks a tablet screen is a good replacement for an e-Ink screen has never seen an e-Ink screen or never read more than a few dozen pages at a time.

Re:$69? (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year and a half ago | (#43130793)

I've been reading books on handhelds and tablets since the late '90s, starting with Palm devices and moving later to IOS and Android machines. I've owned a Kindle but it saw the least use of all the devices.

Frankly, I didn't find the text all that impressive. Oh, it was sharp but not significantly more so than that of the LCD screens of the other devices. It didn't make reading any more comfortable or faster; it was, at least in my opinion, pretty much the same as an LCD display (at least as far as text was concerned). And the Kindle lacked all the other options - no color, limited apps, no back-light - that I took for granted on the other devices. Plus, it was too tightly tied to Amazon for my liking. The only feature that /really/ impressed me was the battery life, an artifact of the eInk technology but - since I rarely drained the battery on any of the LCD-devices in a single day - that was not that vital of an advantage.

I struggled with the Kindle for about two months before giving it up as a lost hope; it didn't do what I wanted and it's few strengths were just not enough to overcome the disadvantages. The Kindle now collects dust in a corner and aside from occasionally powering it up for nostalgia never gets any use.

Meanwhile, I'm back to more my Apple iTouch for reading ebooks / novels (and its rich ecosystem means I can read far more formats than on the Kindle), and an Android tablet for PDFs and magazines. They have rich color, robust application support, the pages turn much faster and I can read them in the dark (e.g, on the bus on my commute) without needing a clip-on lamp. And the text is crisp, clear and has never caused me a headache or eyestrain. So as far as I am concerned, they are not just a good replacement for an e-Ink screen, they are /far/ superior.

Re:$69? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43136079)

Anybody who thinks a tablet screen is a good replacement for an e-Ink screen has never seen an e-Ink screen or never read more than a few dozen pages at a time.

I agree, but don't forget that most people probably don't read more than a few dozen pages at a time, so it doesn't really matter. The main problem with reading on a tablet is if you try to do it outdoors, so a proper e-Ink book reader is still a much better bet if you want to take it on a beach holidy or something.

But in all honesty, I'd rather have an old fashioned chunky paperback to read outside anyway, as it doesn't really matter if it gets splashed, covered in sand or whatever.

Re:$69? (1)

nobodie (1555367) | about a year and a half ago | (#43145371)

agreed, and I just bought my son and e-ink reader for $40 last Xmas, so tell me why I would pay money for this?

As overpriced as the Chromebook Pixel (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43131757)

Not really *that* overpriced. But overpriced enough that nobody will buy it.

yes/no/maybe? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128355)

It's so hard to evaluate tablets looking at specs. it's such an intimate experience that the only way to buy is one is by trying them out, preferably for an extended period (borrow from friends?).

would you choose a pair of pants based on features, or would you try one on before you guy it?

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128405)

or would you try one on before you guy it?

I for one would never want a guy in my pants. Each to their own I suppose.

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

tehlinux (896034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128593)

I thought only girls tried on their pants before buying.

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129861)

>Implying that girls don't ready /. ;-)

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128645)

It's so hard to evaluate tablets looking at specs. it's such an intimate experience that the only way to buy is one is by trying them out, preferably for an extended period (borrow from friends?).

would you choose a pair of pants based on features, or would you try one on before you guy it?

Once I find my size in a brand, I usually keep buying that brand based on features (color, fabric style, etc) rather than trying them on every time I buy a new pair of pants. I hate going to the store to try on clothes.

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128683)

It's so hard to evaluate tablets looking at specs. it's such an intimate experience that the only way to buy is one is by trying them out, preferably for an extended period (borrow from friends?).

It's only hard to evaluate looking at specs if the specs don't automatically doom the product:

In this case, they do [the-digital-reader.com] . In order to hit their BoM target, they had to cut this thing to the bone, to the point where it doesn't actually handle parsing the epub/pdf/whatever onboard; but depends on a companion application to load it with pre-rendered page images(up to 5 whole books can be stored!!!!). So, no text resize, no reflow, no nothing except page turning unless you go back to your phone and reload over bluetooth.

External e-ink display (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128801)

So it's really just an external e-ink display for a PDA or phone. I seem to remember some Slashdot users wishing they had exactly that.

Re:External e-ink display (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129725)

But probably not at this price.

Re:yes/no/maybe? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43139655)

touche. I would say for tablets that are roughly comparable in specs and price, the only way to tell is to be hands on. same for tvs in same size range and price. The only way I can tell is by using the remote for 15 mins! I hate that at best buy etc they don't even put the remotes on display.

LOL were 2 download it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128357)

I've been told 3D printing will eliminate all traditional manufacturing and all we need to do is download files into Sketchup and like 3D print everything we need?

Re:LOL were 2 download it? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128525)

Yep [thingiverse.com] .

Re:LOL were 2 download it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128981)

searched for a dildo (don't ask), came up with Chris Dodd.

Performance of the Beagle. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128361)

It's a dog.

It's dead, Jim (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128375)

Requiring a companion device for this is just nuts. You'd think they'd learn from all the previous "success" we've seen - the Playbook comes to mind...

Re:It's dead, Jim (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128695)

Had it actually allowed them to hit their price point, it would have been a lot less nuts. As it is, I'm not sure why they are even bothering to ship(maybe they had some already in the warehouse?)

More generally, it sounds like their plan was part sensible, part gamble: The sensible part is that, by requiring the companion device, they did get to cut the cost and power consumption(runs off a AA or two, less demanding CPU/RAM, no wifi, etc.) The gamble: that telcos would take the 'bluetooth only, requires smartphone' restriction as a virtue and subsidize the price further. Without that, the device still has a few technical advantages; but is only slightly cheaper than a full ebook device, and without the economies of scale that the incumbents get.

$13 dollars would have been subsidized (4, Informative)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128415)

From the linked article:

"As for price, the 10 to 20 euros mentioned before is the subsidized price; I don’t know what the actual retail will be. If you want the lower price you will need to contact a cell network which carries it and buy it from them – with contract, probably."

So it was only a $13 ereader in the same sense that this [amazon.com] is a $0.01 cellphone.

AAA Batteries (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128529)

Call me old fashioned, but I like the idea of an e-reader that uses standard replaceable batteries rather than a custom, non-replaceable li-ion cell. That way it isn't useless/tethered for a period when the battery dies, I don't have to drag a charger around, and the reader itself doesn't end up as landfill in a decade when the battery stops holding a charge.

Re:AAA Batteries (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128549)

Best option I like is using NiMH batteries like the Sony eneloop or similar. Still not nearly as long battery life as Li batteries, but you can easily carry spares on a long trip. Most devices can have their internal batteries replaced, although Apple products are the hardest to service.

Re:AAA Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43129697)

Eneloop batteries are made by Sanyo, not Sony.

Sony also makes low self discharge rechargeable NiMH batteries, but Eneloops are a bit better, they're the industry standard in some ways. Some Duracell low self discharge batteries are actually rebranded Eneloops and are usually cheaper, but are harder to find. You have to look for batteries marked as "Made in Japan" instead of "Made in China", and the surround of the top terminal is white instead of black.

Re:AAA Batteries (2)

imsabbel (611519) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128575)

You are old fashioned.

A good e-reader only needs to be charged every month or two (thanks to Lithium batteries), and is using micro usb, so you do not need a charger, cause if you are gone from home for more than a couple of weeks, you might have your cell phone charger or a laptop or something with you, anyways.

Re:AAA Batteries (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128705)

The greater inconvenience with Li-ion is their tendency to die quite permanently with a relatively short window. Unless your device is quite popular, popular enough that new aftermarket batteries are still produced(since new-in-box or used ones will be nearly as dead as what you are trying to replace), anything with a weird-shaped Li-ion has maybe 2-3 years of getting near-new battery life, another 1-2, if things go well, of adequacy, and then becomes AC-adapter powered.

Re:AAA Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43138259)

The greater inconvenience with Li-ion is their tendency to die quite permanently with a relatively short window. Unless your device is quite popular, popular enough that new aftermarket batteries are still produced(since new-in-box or used ones will be nearly as dead as what you are trying to replace), anything with a weird-shaped Li-ion has maybe 2-3 years of getting near-new battery life, another 1-2, if things go well, of adequacy, and then becomes AC-adapter powered.

Well.. Kind of.
True enough, Lithium batteries don't seem to last that long in normal day to day use. But the device they are used in makes a big difference.
For a cell phone/tablet/laptop or similar daily charge high drain device, you are correct. A reasonable life span is about 3-4 years. High drain appliances are even worse. I get about a year from my e-cig batteries if I'm lucky. But They are very high drain, which kills any battery fast. They often get recharged twice a day.
You are however, very wrong on the expected longevity. Quite dramatically wrong. You are quantifying it wrong. Because you are familiar with frequent charge devices.

They have instead of a best before date.. a charge cycle count. Usually in excess of 1000 cycles.

Charge a cell phone every day, and within 3 years, you will experience a noticeable performance drop... True enough. It has reached or exceeded it's life span. 1000 days is not even 3 years.

My Palm PDA, still holds a full charge after 6 years of use, and I got it second hand, so easily 9 years or so on the same battery.. I only charged it once a week or so.
My 5 year old MP3 player, which is still on it's original battery is still keeping a full charge. And I only charge that once a month.

So two devices that use Li-ion batteries in my personal possession have already beaten your estimate. And are still going.

Charging an e-book reader is a once a MONTH exercise for all but the heaviest users. Assuming regular use.
1000 months = 83.33 years. Are you really honestly expecting to use the same device that long? The power switch will have to be replaced several times before that, and nobody really knows how long the screen will last, and the LEDs only have a given life span too. Not to mention the memory will wear out much earlier.

1000 weeks(worst case scenario).. 19 years. Still pretty damn good. The battery will still outlast the device's useful life.

Theoretical, so YMMV.. but remember.. this is not a cell phone. You do not charge it every day, so the 3-4 year lifespan estimate does not apply.

Lithium batteries are good in situations where you need lots of power in a small space.
Frequent charge discharge cycles kill them fast. Which is why the short life myth has become so common.

Re:AAA Batteries (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43136127)

A good e-reader only needs to be charged every month or two

Yes, if you don't use it.

Re:AAA Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128579)

I love standard battery sizes league for practical reasons, in my ideal world, the best battery for a eBook is to use a rechargeable 10440 (Li-ion), and the ability to use it or a common AAA as both have the same size (There are flashlights capable of this).

Also I want to have standardized batteries for cellphones, for example to have 5~6 types and all manufactures using on of those.

Re:AAA Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128583)

There are quite a few e-readers that use easily replaceable batteries. Li-Ion, LiPo, or even NiMH.

While theoretically not having to have a charger around is nice, in practice the batteries in mine last so long that as long as I plug them in every three or four weeks I'm fine.

(Mine are also older readers, so I have to plug them into USB to load books; generally, I just let them charge when I load up a few more books.)

Re:AAA Batteries (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43136139)

I've got a (relatively) old Sony book reader, and the battery only lasts a few days if you use it to actually do any serious reading (a couple of hours a day or more).

Re:AAA Batteries (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128761)

You can buy lithium batteries in various sizes and voltages, when yours wears out you can just buy one off the shelf. AAAA batteries might be small enough to replace a li-ion slab battery, but at a high cost to the environment and battery life.

Re:AAA Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43130399)

A decade, foor the device to be come unusable. How about the average oof a year. Most of the devices do not last beyond the next generation out. as shoort as biweekly.

It needs the companion app at $69? (4, Interesting)

Michalson (638911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128543)

It really doesn't take a lot of power to read an eBook. Some of us have been doing it since the Palm days (for reference I had no problem reading eBooks on a 4MB Palm IIIx, which used a 16 Mhz low power SoC version of the CPU that powered the Apple Lisa).

Reading the specs for the device it seems that its 4 GB of storage are used to hold 4 bit uncompressed bitmaps - the companion app must render each page as a bitmap, send it to the device by bluetooth and then the device just dumps it on the screen with no processing power at all. That would seem to be the 'cost savings': take out the CPU and RAM and replace it with a simple 8 bit controller linking BlueTooth, flash and display, or at least that must have been the original sales pitch before anyone actually sat down to design it.

By comparison a $30 photo frame contains a CPU powerful enough to decode JPG files fast enough to display them as a slide show. That's more powerful then the Palm at half the cost of the Beagle. Part of that is because the cheap ARM CPU inside costs under $2 and has all the power you could need.

I think the simple truth is that 80-90% of the material cost of the Beagle (and it's competitors like the entry level Kindle, Nook, Kobo models) probably comes from the eInk screen and the NAND memory. There just wasn't a huge savings to be had by eliminating the CPU and RAM. They seem to have saved $10 after markup over their competitors (who not only have CPUs but touch screens and rechargable batteries as well). This seems like a pie in the sky sales pitch that wasn't aborted as soon as they discovered the cost savings where not there.

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128595)

Interesting post. I was thinking about the potential of the device after it fails and the left overs are for sale. I would liken it to the failed thin client ideas of the early 90's. They were easy to find and purchase for cheap after failure. After reading this I don't think it will even be wanted for that.

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128793)

It might still be somewhat interesting if its simplicity turns out to make it controllable. Given that you can get a Nook Touch or Kindle and have a wifi-connected Linux device for not all that much, trying to ram actual intelligence into the confines of this thing would make sense only as an embedded hacker exercise.

If, however, in the quest to make it cheap, they ended up offloading enough intelligence to the companion app, it might be possible to re-use the device as a sort of bluetooth connected screen for a more powerful device capable of generating bitmaps and shoving them to it over bluetooth.

Given that e-ink displays are a bit weird to drive, and not terribly common in the small-quantity parts market (compared to, say, Nokia 5110 LCD clones if you need pixels, or HD44780-compatible 16x2 or 20x4s if you need characters) , having that all wrapped up nice and neat behind a bluetooth interface could be pretty handy, if not brutally obfuscated and/or crippled.

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43128723)

Actually is possible even easy to use compression with microcontrolers, for example using lzrw1-a like I made it in a AVR project.

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129787)

It really doesn't take a lot of power to read an eBook. Some of us have been doing it since the Palm days (for reference I had no problem reading eBooks on a 4MB Palm IIIx, which used a 16 Mhz low power SoC version of the CPU that powered the Apple Lisa).

You are not really up-to-date. Modern e-books format - AZW, Mobi and ePub - are HTML based and use rather rich subset of HTML. And XML for meta data and TOC. Good luck rendering that in 4MB and at 16MHz.

Illustration-less, TOC-less, chapter-less, plain text e-books of Palm days are really long in the past. But yeah, you can render them on literally anything.

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129965)

He just said the device doesn't do the rendering -- they pump a bitmap across Bluetooth and shove it into RAM where the display shows it, no processing involved.

Why this requires Android 4.0 I don't know. Did earlier versions have some idiot, limited Bluetooth implementation that doesn't transfer BLOBs?

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129977)

Actually Bluetooth's raison d'etre is to pump an indefinite data stream, who cares if it is "really" a picture instead of audio -- so the apps at both ends lie to it, telling it they are really rich Hollywood producers.

ah, battery and price explained (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43132009)

Thanks that's a useful explanation regards battery and costs

        - I was wondering why they're getting a year out of it rather than a month I get from my rooted eink Nook!

Still handy for yachting though.... until we get to diagrams I presume...

Re:It needs the companion app at $69? (2)

Zadaz (950521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43132285)

Good analysis. I suspect that the project was founded by ... I don't know what. Guys without any experience with embedded systems is my bet. The cost difference, in bulk, of a small 16 mhz 8-bit CPU with 0.5k RAM and a 100mhz 32-bit CPU with 128K RAM is about a dollar.

If they had spent the extra dollar per unit they could have had a device that could take care of all of the I/O formatting, etc, etc and been a stand-alone device.

(Even without spending the dollar, you can get a lot of performance out of an old 8-bit CPU if you know what you're doing. [adafruit.com] )

Why require android/bluetooth? (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128657)

If it let me upload standard ePub (and maybe .mobi) files via USB, I'd buy one.

price is not the reason for DOA (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128687)

It's the design. It looks to have a bump on the bottom [the-digital-reader.com] , maybe batteries go in there similar to the Apple wireless keyboard. But unlike the product they got their inspiration from, the bump is at the wrong end. When placed on a flat surface, the screen will be angled away. Major design FAIL.

Re:price is not the reason for DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43129331)

Or the heavier batteries will be at the bottom and not at the top adding strain to one's wrist.

Slightly ahead of its time. (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128751)

The architecture of this device is just slightly ahead of its time. It is, literally, a secondary display for a primary computing device. Electronic ink is optimal for reading when there is enough ambient light, so it would be much better than reading a book on a cell phone (plus the screen size is larger too). However, there are two places where this would be the killer app, and neither are mainstream yet: Google Glasses, and the iWatch. Both of those are wearable computers, but they both have sub-optimal displays. That's where an external display would be extremely useful. It would make a whole lot of sense to just extend your existing wearable computer into an ebook reader, instead of having to carry (and thus synchronize / manage data / etc) a discreet device.

Imagine - you have your Txtr in your hand, or simply propped up on a little stand or laying on your lap as you read. To turn the page, you just give your wrist (the one your iWatch is on) a little flick, and the page turns. Pretty much optimal.

This really is the future. Your iWatch or Google Glasses will be your primary computing device for everything. Want to watch a movie at home? It simply outputs wirelessly to your TV (with an Apple TV box attached). Want to browse the internet? Use an external display that looks like an iPad, but that is merely a display and touchscreen. Want to read an ebook? Grab an eInk screen. Got a lot of typing to do? Whip out your bluetooth keyboard. I predict devices in a laptop form factor (including touch screen) that is nothing more than an I/O device for your wearable computer.

Re:Slightly ahead of its time. (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129525)

would I want to buy a device that has to connect to another device, thats twice the battery headache, twice the networking, twice the setup

its bad enough when my nook's battery is dead, but it would suck more if I wanted to read a book on a full charge but couldnt turn the pages cause my friggin watch is low on juice.

pie in the sky ideals like you present never take into account the practicality of it, you want me to buy a 70$ screen with a 400$ watch and square the complexity of using the crap when I can get a 40$ chi-co device that's self contained

Re:Slightly ahead of its time. (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43131597)

The watch replaces your phone. I assume you carry a phone pretty much all the time, correct? Now you won't be carrying a phone. You'll be wearing a watch. The battery lasts for days, and you already go to the trouble of charging it and keeping up with it because you use it for so many other things.

So in your scenario, right now, you have a phone you have to charge and carry around, and if you wanted to read ebooks on an actual eink screen, you would then have to buy an ebook reader, which you'd also have to charge and carry around. Further, you would have to get the books onto your ebook reader. For a $40 "chi-co" reader you're surely not going to have even wifi, let alone 3G, so that means you need yet another device - a laptop or PC - to act as USB host to download ebooks and upload them to your reader.

In my scenario, you already have your watch with you, and it has mobile data, thus it is always connected to the internet already. You want to read a book? You pull it up on your watch. That screen is too small? You grab an eInk display and your watch pushes data to it. That requires absolutely no extra power from your watch, as it is simply idle 99% of the time, and sending a page worth of text to another device is trivial extra load. In fact, it would be power-saving, because you're not even using the display on your watch to read, thus it doesn't have to power that up.

Re:Slightly ahead of its time. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43136163)

I think in this scenario, the display would need to be some sort of foldable or rollable electonic piece of paper. Once your computer is in a watch or a pair of glassses, you're not going to want to carry around a chunky, rigid plastic box in your pocket as well just to be able to actually see anything useful, as in that case you might just as well have the computer in a chunky, rigid plastic box to start with.

Re:Slightly ahead of its time. (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129673)

In the immortal words of Dennis Miller: "Not only did I inhale, I drank the fucking bong water afterwards!"

Re:Slightly ahead of its time. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43136151)

Imagine - you have your Txtr in your hand, or simply propped up on a little stand or laying on your lap as you read. To turn the page, you just give your wrist (the one your iWatch is on) a little flick, and the page turns.

I think it would quickly become known as the iWank. The body language would be too suggestive.

Still has potential, but needs some work (1)

WoLpH (699064) | about a year and a half ago | (#43128983)

It could still be a great device if they'd simply fix the software

The bluetooth transfer idea is quite useful assuming it's used in a smart way. Having a screen where you can see your latest mails, messages, stock info, etc... all the time even in the bright sun could be useful.

Especially if it works for a much longer time than your phone will. I still see potential, but I have a lot of doubt that they'll use it.

We need a whole new catagory (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129033)

Shit tech.

More limited than a Kindle?! (2)

PrimeNumber (136578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129659)

I didn't think that was possible. The Nook is a better ebook reader than both. I can actually read and transfer PDF files to a Nook with a USB cable.

Re:More limited than a Kindle?! (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43129761)

Officially Kindle also can PDFs. But I never really tried it.

With every year, PDF fortunately becomes more and more niche - as e-book formats go.

There are really only several stalwart branches which use exclusively PDFs this days to represent books and such. Everybody else has already moved to HTML and similar.

P.S. I personally can't forgive Amazon how they have f***ed up and dumbified dictionary functionality in the most recent iteration of the Kindles.

Re:More limited than a Kindle?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43129801)

I use my Kindle DX only for PDFs (textbooks). Works flawlessly.

Re:More limited than a Kindle?! (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year and a half ago | (#43140133)

DX - yes.

But literally all other readers (and all other Kindles too) have smaller screens and can't fit the A4/letter format document for comfortable reading. Heck, most PDFs for scientific papers user tiny fonts so that I personally can't read them comfortably even on A4/letter sized screen.

Re:More limited than a Kindle?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43129953)

I didn't think that was possible. The Nook is a better ebook reader than both. I can actually read and transfer PDF files to a Nook with a USB cable.

You can drag and drop PDF files and MP3s to a kindle. (I've done this myself)..

From Amazon's site:

Built-in PDF reader for Kindle 2nd Generation devices
Your Kindle 2nd Generation device can display PDF documents without losing the formatting of the original file. Send PDF documents directly to your Kindle device (via your Send-to-Kindle address), or drag and drop PDF files from your computer to your Kindle device via USB.

Re:More limited than a Kindle?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43132583)

I read PDFs on my Kindle without any issues, not sure what your point is.

2 dollar saving removes 99% of the functionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43133715)

I read books this way on my very old PDA. It has a colour LCD screen of decent resolution, but lacks support for modern ebook formats (epub) and lacks the power to decode PDF files. On the PC, I use open-source and free software to batch convert all the pages of a PDF textbook to JPG pictures sized for the resolution of the PDA. These books are read using a JPG picture display app that allows vertical scrolling.

Now I KNOW why this made sense for me. My PDA, although ARM based, predates the CPU power revolution that has enabled the age of iOS and Android.

3+ years ago, the market was flooded with 'digital picture frame' chips that likewise were only really good enough to rapidly decode JPG files. Had they implemented an internal battery (very rare) and an ability to vertically scroll a JPG file (never), they too could have been used as unhappy, crude ebook readers.

Why would anyone think such an approach to design would make sense in the year 2013? Do you know how cheap powerful single-core pre-cortex ARM SoC parts are today? This piece of utter garbage, 'The Beagle' was NEVER going to be built for $13- that was its subsidized price, with the offset to be paid (they hoped) by the phone company. So, it was ALWAYS to have an actual cost equivalent to the vastly more functional readers from the competition. What sucker would agree to pay these crooks the price of a Kindle for a POS?

A better question is this. When the 'Beagle' is dumped thru various discount stores at a fraction of the price (and probably close to the $13), will it even find a market then? Clearly it needs to have a non-proprietary way to fill its folders with JPG images, so users can create their own conversions of PDF textbooks on their PC, and move the files to the device.

However, I'd bet the device only has memory enough for a single textbook (which tend to have far more pages than novels, and need larger JPG files too), and if there is no memory card slot, it is DOA even at $13 for specialised users.

Again, $69 is now the cost of a wonderful single core Android tablet from China, with 512MB, good enough GPU, hardware decoding for HD video, and a decent version of Android. One might expect, within a year, for such tablets to have the build option of a 'fast' response e-Ink display for people who need the much extended battery life. Life is just tto short for useless crippled gimmicks like the 'Beagle'.

Utterly stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43135359)

it was utterly stupid back in october and when i saw it posted somewhere else a year before. why not just use the damn android smartphone to read books? both amazon and b&n have android apps. i'm sure they have iOS apps too. additionally, each platform has many other apps that can read epubs and the like.

pdf no instal (1)

funzetv (2864105) | about a year and a half ago | (#43152159)

i have issue ti instal PDF file.
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