Coming out of nowhere, the Alex looks a lot like that Android-powered Barnes & Noble reader. Its 6-inch display is monochrome e-ink (not colour), yet it also has a secondary 3.5-inch colour touchscreen that lets you browse the Web.
The similarities are uncanny...could this be the actual device Barnes & Noble may unveil tomorrow? Spring Design says it's "enlisting major content partners, and plans to release the Alex for selected strategic partners by the end of this year." Curious indeed.
Spec wise, the Alex supports Wi-Fi and 3G, and lets you save "Web grabs" to its removable SD card storage. Saved items can also be viewed on the larger monochrome screen. From the sounds of it, this "Link Notes" system also lets you easily annotate clippings.
This could be one killer device. Stay tuned for more details. [Spring Design]
Spring Design Announces Dual-Screen Google Android-based E-book Reader, Hyperlinking Text with Multimedia Secondary colour touchscreen supplements text with web-based or any linked multimedia content; Enables users to enhance original text with their own embedded video, audio, photos and notes
FREMONT, CA – OCTOBER 19, 2009– Spring Design today announced Alex™, the first e-book based on Google Android featuring full browser capabilities and patented dual screen interaction technology, the Duet Navigator™. The Alex livens up text with multimedia links, adding a new dimension to the reading experience and potentially creating a whole new industry for secondary publications that supplement and enhance original text. Alex's dual-screen display design brings together the efficiency of reading on a monochrome EPD (electronic paper display) screen while dynamic hyperlinked multimedia information and third party input on its secondary colour LCD screen, actually an integrated Android mobile device, opens a rich world of Internet content to support the text on the main screen.
Alex is the first Google Android-based e-book device to provide full Internet browsing over Wi-Fi or mobile networks such as 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM. With its dual-screen, multi-access capability, it provides the entire Web universe as a handy reference library, prompting users to delve into its vast information base to complement, clarify or enhance what they are reading. Alex is the first truly mobile wireless e-book device that gives users their own personalised library on the go, whenever and wherever they need it.
Spring Design pioneered its patented dual-screen device with ‘touch and extend' capability in 2007, and has been working with major book stores, newspapers and publishers over the past two years to share its vision and the capabilities of the dual screen device. Alex brings together the efficiency of an EPD display with the responsiveness and richness of navigational convenience of the LCD screen. Its removable SD card gives users extensive storage, allowing them to expand their text with multimedia "add on" editions.
Ideal for professional, educational and entertainment markets, Alex dynamically transforms the reader's experience with images, videos and notes inserted as ‘Web grabs' or with custom text created by the user or other secondary authors pertaining to the subject being displayed. Users can create their own images and notes and capture them to augment the original text or just dynamically grab relevant content with Link Notes™, Alex's innovative multimedia authoring tool to enhance multimedia publishing.
"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text. We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations," said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. "This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."
Alex™ features a 6″ E-Ink EPD display and 3.5″ colour LCD display, earphones and speakers. A removable SD card will free up library space on the device while letting users archive content for future reference. The enhanced Android OS is optimised to support integration between the colour and monochrome displays while preserving battery life. Users can capture and cache web content from their online experience on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery life. Browser features such as bookmarking, history, and security settings are built in and the device, with full Android browsing capability, is mobile-enabled with smart phone capabilities.
Spring Design is currently in discussion with, and enlisting major content partners and plans to release the Alex device for selected strategic partners by the end of this year.