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Summary:

At the Frankfurt Book Fair on Tuesday, Berlin-based Txtr announced a tiny e-reader that will cost under €10 when subsidized by mobile carriers. With the Beagle, the company aims to convert the 80 percent of global mobile phone users who don’t already read ebooks.

txtr beagle

In an effort to turn mobile phone users into ebook readers, Berlin-based Txtr announced a tiny, cheap e-reader, the Txtr Beagle, at the Frankfurt Book Fair Tuesday. While the Beagle is very light — five inches and 128 grams with two AAA batteries — its main selling point is its super-low price. Txtr, which is backed by US company 3M, expects that the Beagle will be €9.90 ($12.88 USD) or less when offered through mobile carriers.

“We believe e-reading is a great tool for mobile operators to strengthen their relationship with consumers,” Txtr CEO Christopher Maire said at the Tools of Change Frankfurt conference on Tuesday. He explained that mobile phone operators who subsidize the cost of the Beagle will drive subscriber acquisition and stand out from other mobile carriers. They will also receive a cut of ebook sales.

While the Txtr is indeed small and light, it is a very barebones e-reader that does not include Wi-Fi, a built-in battery or other features that are common on the cheapest American e-readers like the $69 Amazon Kindle. Readers add ebooks to the Beagle (from Txtr’s Android-based store of 700,000 titles) by connecting it to their smartphone with Bluetooth or by using an Android app app. (An iOS app is planned.)

Don’t mistake the Beagle, which runs on two AAA batteries, for a Kindle competitor. Rather, it is aimed at global mobile phone users who don’t read ebooks already and who might not be able to afford a more expensive. “We’re after the 80 percent of of the cell phone market that aren’t digital readers,” chief commercial officer Thomas Leliveld told Publishers Weekly.

Txtr is talking to mobile carriers in China, Japan and Europe and hopes to roll out the Beagle to some countries by the end of the year.

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  1. guillaumesibout Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    And what about talks with US carriers?

  2. Here in Brazil it would probably cost 99,99.

  3. Reblogged this on H. P. Ward and commented:
    What an interesting development…

  4. InalienableWrights Thursday, October 11, 2012

    I love it. Would not touch a kindle with a 10 foot pole. Do you remember then erasing copies of 1984 on the Kindle? It’s an Orwellian memory hole device.

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