Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

Summary: Meet Alex, the new Google Android OS-based e-book reader from Spring Design. Only one day before Barnes & Noble releases their e-reader and on the same day as the Que release, the Bay Area-based is trying to steal the thunder with its dual-screen, 6-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) gadget.


Meet Alex, the new Google Android OS-based e-book reader from Spring Design. Only one day before Barnes & Noble releases their e-reader and on the same day as the Que release, the Bay Area-based is trying to steal the thunder with its dual-screen, 6-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) gadget.

Alex, the first Android-based e-book device, includes a removable SD card, speaker and headphone jack built-in. It's also capable of web browsing via Wi-Fi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM. The key aspect is the Duet Navigator feature, which lets the reader cut and paste content captured on the color touchscreen and send it back to the black and white EPD to save battery life.

Estimated to be released before the end of 2009, there's no word on a price yet, but I still don't think I'd buy an e-book reader more expensive than $100. What about you?

For the full press release, click here.

Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Myself, I do not even want a separate device, no matter how cheap. AND, I

    want to be able to read my books on any of my
    devices, such as smart phone, netbook, or desktop.
    • Exactly

      I would like to read my eStuff on my desktop, laptop or any other device. I don't want spend an extra dime on only ebook reader and especially I don't want to leave my content to the jurisdiction of the ebook reader company.

      Ram U
    • Agree! DRM kills my interest in eBooks!

      If I can't buy a book and use it on any device I own, then I'm not interested. Also, if they plan to charge the same price or more for an eBook as they do for a printed and shipped paperback, forget it. I'm not going to help them increase their profits by reducing their massive paper and shipping costs without a price cut for me included in that plan.

      Conversely, if some company can come up with a way for me to buy an eBook for less than the price of a paperback and ALSO let me use it on any device I own. I will buy exclusively from that company forever and I'll buy more books than I ever have before. Guaranteed.
  • I would spend up to $500

    I don't really imagine an e-book reader, that can do nothing but read a black & white book.

    I want it to have the computer functions too, even if I primarily use it to read books.

    I would spend $500 or so. I want an ebook reader, that can do web pages too, email, has access to translation services, and has an open development environment (since I like to code).

    • Definitely - computer functions, too

      The deal breaker for me is whether I can use the eBooks I purchase on any device I own. If they can manage that without charging more than a paperback, I'm sold on eBooks. As far as dedicated readers go, I agree with you. It would have to have computer functions, too. Then, I wouldn't mind spending $500+ on one. Tying my ebooks to readers which do nothing else using DRM just kills any interest I have.

      I REALLY want to buy eBooks. I really want to buy readers. I refuse to buy any of the current crop of either. The main reason I won't buy eBooks and readers is DRM. I want to be able to read any ebook I own on any device I own. The second reason is pricing. Not reader pricing. Book pricing. They are charging MORE for an eBook which costs virtually ZERO to distribute than they charge for a paperback which costs a fortune to print on paper and ship all over the place. The publishers are ripping people off and treating them like criminals. In other words, they are following in the footsteps of the mentally-retarded recording industry.
  • RE: Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

    I would like to say one thing, people say they want to be able to read on any device...so its a valid marketing point.

    However, studies of people's real behavior shows they do not read books on their desktop computers, and in fact, they don't transfer books from device to device. (there is always an exception).

    Amazon Kindle purchasers, actually do use the device to read.

    I know this phenomena well, being an early adopter of Microsofts ill fated ebook iniative from a while ago (before the Kindle).

    It just never took off, and sales were dismal. It took the Kindle to spark ebook sales.

    Still, the kindle does web and email...just poorly. I think a full tablet computer, may be the best ebook device.
    • Missing the boat

      Most ebook's I read are on My PDA which I carry all the time because it has programs I use at work (machinist calculator) or on my netbook which can carry a lot of books. I sometimes use the netbook at work to read manual in the PDF format.
      For an e-book reader I would need something that could read non-DRM'ed e-books in PDF and mobepocket formats (I have a very large number of e-books). Non-DRM'ed because I hate losing a book because the computer went down and the company is no longer there Lost a number like that).
      I do thank that the companies that make e-book readers are missing the boat on the business market. I know a number of tech's the carry netbooks/laptops with them to read manuals (in PDF format) with.
      I know that as a designer I've carried blueprints (in PDF format) on my netbook. I would haved loved to have been able to carry something lighter.
  • Is the book publishing business going the way of the music business?

    The availability of inexpensive mp3 player hardware, the standardized mp3 file format and p2p file sharing was a disruptive force that fundamentally changed the music business.

    The availability of inexpensive eBook reader hardware, the standardized ePub file format and p2p file sharing will fundamentally change the book publishing business.

    DRM becomes irrelevant. What would have happened if mp3 had DRM? iPods used to have DRM. DRM gets cracked eventually anyway.
    • Problem for book PRINTERS

      IF there's a mechanism to keep the data files from being freely shared,
      this will work out nicely for publishers. However, book PRINTERS will
      only be producing for those who [i]must[/i] have a hard copy on their
      bookshelf, and even [i]that[/i] will be going away as print-on-demand
      quality goes up and price comes down.
      Most of our books <http://trineday.com> will be going electronic over
      the next year or two, and we treat it as just one more sales channel.
  • If it has a black and white screen...

    If it has a black and white screen to conserve power, and then also a color screen that doesn't conserve power - maybe they could only leave a bigger color screen - a tablet in essence...
    Roque Mocan
  • That thing is FUGLY!

    If this ever makes it to market, it will be DOA. It is good they are thinking different, but Apple has shown that a visually appealing device will have a much better chance of success, even when it is technically deficient or lacking in capabilities. This is an interesting idea, but who is going to use it?

    The people buying ebook readers right now pretty much are people that read novels... That is what the Sony and Kindle readers do well. The next group to conquer will be people who read magazines and newspapers. They are not going to go for 2 small screens to make 1 big device.

    Basically, something in a tablet format is going to have to come along with a color screen that is easy on the eyes like e-ink. So far I haven't heard of anything with the right capabilities...
  • RE: Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

    I think that there needs to be several levels
    of capability in ebook readers. A lot of people
    seem to want a handheld full function computer,
    but I believe that there a lot of people like
    myself, who are just looking to read books and
    would like to be able to download them via wifi
    but will settle for downloading them on a
    computer and transferring them to the reader.
    Amazon actually has decent prices for their
    books although the only ebook reader they work
    on is the Kindle. I believe the readers need to
    come down in price but would also point out
    that I have personally downloaded over 600 open
    source books (to read on my laptop).
  • RE: Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

    When I read a book, I do NOT surf the web, read email, check the weather watch TV or do spreadsheets, I READ the book! My e-reader allows me to just that and I love it. I have computers, smartphones and tons of other crap to do other stuff, I certainly don't need it on my e-reader. Sure $100 would be nice, but if you love reading and need a portable library for commuting, flights and lying on the beach, a decent, plain vanilla reader, even at $250+ can't be beat.
  • RE: Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

    I think the review was a bit short on the details end!
    How much onboard memory does it have? What formats does
    it support? 6 inches in what dimension? What about
    alternate font sizes? etc. etc.
  • RE: Spring Design debuts Google Android-based e-book reader, Alex

    I have written a novel and I'm currently using ADE;
    Adobe Digital Editions to view; .pub files and .pdf
    files. I would buy an e-Book reader at the right
    price. There are at least three being launched in the
    UK soon. The Kindle, this offering from Google and a
    very nice one by a British company. I like the latter;
    but not it's price. With the cost of printing removed
    from publishing and a standard format like PDF or
    maybe a better format like .pub that will enable
    writers and publishers to publish on demand and
    cheaply; it will cause a publishing revolution. Not
    just fiction but lots of new non fiction and
    educational books. Even with your computer a book can
    be handy if you're learning something new like web
    design. An e-Book reader at the side of your laptop
    could be very handy. The other thing I'm cautious
    about is eye strain. I get that proof reading my novel
    on my laptop and prefer a coloured background. I can't
    do a colour background on ADE but can on a PDF reader.
    But ADE does keep my place for me! I would like to see
    one of these e-ink devices before I buy I think and
    see if they do cause eye strain and whether they can
    be used outside in the sunlight.
  • Seems all the e-book readers miss the point

    The ones that are to buy it already read books. Why not make a reader with the same convenience.

    Why is there no e-book that is the size of a paperback novel and opens up. A screen on the left and right; shut down and bookmark automatically. It could be thin and fit easily in pocket/purse.

    The print industry has tried and true measures on what it's readers like. Cannot the e-book industy understand this? Why do they feel like re-inventing how people read, without enough research?

    Makes one wonder.
  • e-book the end of the local library

    I think you all missed the point. With and e-books, music, audio books you buy a copy you read it, listen to it and your done. If your daughter wants to experience it you buy another copy, if your spouse wants to read it you by another copy, if your other daughter or friend wants to read it you by yet another copy. This is the future of published material. Unlike a book or CD you read it and pass it on. The public library with is massive number of free books and CDs; do you think you could bring your kindle in and check out a book?
    • maybe not Kindle, but......

      Kindle may not support "epub", which is the
      standard format that all Public Libraries are
      using. It is now possible in a lot of Libraries
      to checkout on-Line a eBook, audio-book, music,
      movies, emag's, or other electronic media.

      They have a way to set an expiration date when
      it will not be playable. So no late fee's not
      need to go to a brick building to look up a
      book or audio book, just enjoy it.

      You will be able to purchase the same from
      Publishers and pay for the item. Since the
      Items are protected from making copies, you
      should be able to move them from one device to
      another. Just like a physical book, CD or

      Yes, there will always be ways to break the
      protection and copy the media, either high tech
      or low tech. High tech is breaking the copy
      protection and Low tech is recording the audio
      out for audio type of media and recording the
      video out + audio out for DVD and other visual
      media. ebooks low tech is a little different,
      but is still possible.

      so for me I have been waiting for it all to
      settle out and standardize then get my favorite
      content on it and buy, loan or borrow them,
      just like their hardcopy relations.