At $69, we thought the new Kindle eReader was cheap.
How wrong we were.
A German electronics company called Txtr has unveiled the Beagle, what is almost certainly the cheapest (if not the tiniest) E-Ink reader in the world. The Beagle weighs just 4.5 ounces; has a small 5-inch Electronic Ink screen; and costs just -- are you ready for this? -- 10 Euros, or about $13 U.S.
What's the catch? Well, for one thing, you're not going to get many of the features you'd expect on an eReader. The display is small (5 inches, compared to the Kindle's 6-inch display); there's no touchscreen or illuminated display, like you might find on the new Kindle Paperwhite or Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. The reader comes with 4GB of storage, which holds about 5 Txtr E-books (compared to about 1,000 on the Kindle); rather than a rechargeable battery, the Beagle runs on two AAA batteries (which Txtr claims will last you about a year). There's also no 3G or WiFi: You put books to the Beagle by downloading them through a Txtr app (Android or, soon, iOS) on your smartphone and then beaming them to the reader via Bluetooth.
That smartphone bit is actually pretty important: Txtr can offer the Beagle so cheap by selling it through mobile carriers, which will make the eReader available as an accessory to your smartphone. Your two-year phone contract would subsidize much of the cost of the reader. Alas, Engadget reports that, though the Beagle will launch first in Europe, Txtr is also in talks with AT&T and Sprint here in America; nothing definite is in place, however.
For more about the Beagle, you can watch a rather imaginative promotional video put together by Txtr:
So, what do you think? Would you sacrifice a few features and pay $13 for the Beagle, or would you shell out another $50 for a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo?