This is the Txtr Beagle. It's a new low-end ereader that does away with fancy technological trappings: you'll find no touchscreen, backlight, 3G or even Wi-Fi here. As a result, it's set to cost less than $US15 — but will it be any good?
Lacking all the specs we're used to by know, you may very well wonder what the Txtr Beagle does have. Not a lot, to put it bluntly. A 5-inch screen, 4GB of storage and a Bluetooth radio lurk within its svelte 5mm frame. It's not even powered by a rechargeable cell: two AAA batteries are required, and Txtr claims one set will see you through a year of reading. All in it weighs 128 grams, so it's certainly pocketable.
Given the lack of Wi-Fi, the idea is that Bluetooth can be used to a sync a phone with the reader, using Txtr's free app — already on Android, an iOS version in the works — to transfer books to the device. As a result, Txtr sees the device as less of a standalone piece of tech and more of a phone accessory — so it hopes carriers will offer the device at point-of-sale with a small subisdy to keep the price around the $US15 mark.
While initially it's just being launched in Germany, according to Engagdet Txtr's CEO Thomas Leliveld already has US carriers AT&T and Sprint on board. The question remains whether it will be any good — but perhaps for $US15 it will be worth trying out. [Txtr via Engadget]