'txtr beagle - a new school ebook?

UPDATE 3/13/2013: just read that the final selling price will be $69 not $15, in large part because they didn't get a cellphone company to underwrite the device - in which case that makes it cost just about the same as a base kindle (which is a more capable device).

Just came across 'txtr's beagle (http://us.txtr.com/beagle/) today and I think it could be the next exciting thing for schools to consider. Right now it isn't available in the US, but they are working to make it for sale here. What makes it so different, it's the price and the batteries. Their plan is to sell it for about $15US and it runs on AAA rechargeable.

This isn't a truly interactive reader, not touch screen or note taking, just the basic read with three control buttons. But as we start to think about Bring Your Own Device or Tech (BYOD-BYOT), here is something that will work well with smart phones and just the cost of two mass market paperback books and well less than the cost of one hardback  I'm not wild about it being able to only hold up to five books at a time, but it's a start. If a company can build such an ebook reader and sell for $15, then what can come next. A class set of 30 would then run less than $500 well within many mini-grant possibilities  and could be use as a gateway reader for start as you could purchase 4.6 beagles for every base (read only) Kindle ($69).   This would make an affordable alternative for schools and students, students could use your smart phone for some reading applications, and then move the book over to your inexpensive reader for longer reading. Or think of the "pass-back" opportunities, a parent could carry the Beagle reader in their bag or their car (one of these readers only weighs as much as a stick of butter), then transfer a book to the device for the child to read while in the car. If nothing else, could be a great kid gift.

txtr beagle from txtr on Vimeo.

Product details:
  • Display: 5" E Ink display with 8-levels gray scale and 800 x 600 pixels resolution
  • Weight: 128 grams (with batteries); 111 grams (without batteries)
  • Dimensions: 140 x 105 x 4.8 mm (14mm at the battery side)
  • Power and Battery Life: Recommended battery types - AAA, 1.5V lithium, alkaline batteries or NiMH rechargeable batteries. Battery Life: Read for more than 1 year (12-15 books per year with normal use. Actual lifetime may vary by battery type.). Voltage: 3.0 V
  • LED: Red and blue LED colors on front side indicate the Bluetooth state and battery power state
  • System Requirements: To get more books from user's library requires (1) pairing via Bluetooth of smartphone (2) txtr Android app with beagle support
  • Memory: 4 GB. Number of books cached: Up to 5
  • Media Formats: epub, pdf


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