Hands-on photos of Spring Design's Alex Android-based e-reader appear

Spring Design's Google Android-based Alex e-book reader was announced at the same time as the Barnes & Noble Nook. Now it's appeared in the flesh.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Spring Design announced its Alex e-book reader just a day before Barnes & Noble introduced its Nook device, but until now, the Google Android-based device hasn't been seen in public.

That's no longer the case.

The folks at Maximum PC have taken photos of the dual-screen, 6-inch electronic paper display gadget in the flesh, and it's just as strangely proportioned as the original mockup promised.

The Alex sports a removable SD card, a speaker and a headphone jack on the outside and Wi-Fi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM connectivity on the inside (so yes, web browsing is possible). It runs on a Marvell ARMADA 166E chip.

The interplay of the two screens comes thanks to its Duet Navigator feature, which lets users cut and paste content from the color touchscreen on the bottom and send it to the electronic paper display, perhaps to save battery life.

The dual-screen thing seems like a workaround to me, but to each his own -- though I wonder if development should focus on improvements to battery and display tech rather than trying to combine two distinct systems in one device to make up for each's inadequacies.

The Alex is expected to arrive to market before the end of the year, but time's running out. No price has been announced.

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