German company Txtr has unveiled Beagle, arguably the world's cheapest e-reader priced at $13 (around Rs 700). And that means it will cost less than one-fifth the price of Amazon's cheapest e-reader Kindle, priced at $69 (Rs 3,660). But before you start wondering why the deal sounds too good to be true, let us tell you there is a catch.
According to Spiegel Online, the company is planning to offer the device bundled with a mobile phone contract, which somewhat justifies the low prices (even Apple offers its mobile phones at throwaway prices when bundled with contracts). Secondly, the specifications of the device are nothing to write home about.
To begin with, Beagle comes with a 5 inch ink display with 8-levels grey scale and 800x600 pixels resolution. The memory amounts to 4 GB and the company claims that up to five books can be cached at a time. Beagle also features an LED indicator on the front for monitoring battery level and Bluetooth connectivity.
The device measures 140mm x 105mm x 4.8mm and weighs 128 gm (111 gm without the batteries), making it the thinnest and the smallest e-reader as of now (at least, according to the company). But the e-reader does not support a charger and runs on two AAA batteries that the company claims will last for a year, considering a user will read up to 12-15 books per year.
Interestingly, the only way to add books to the e-reader is through a smartphone. Beagle does not have Wi-Fi or 3G, and is conveniently aligned with the Txtr Android reading app (the company is also planning to launch an iOS app soon). At present, a user can pair the Txtr Beagle with his/her smartphone via Bluetooth. Once paired, one can transfer digital books to the device.
In contrast, Amazon's Kindle has a 6 inch screen, measures 165.75mm x 114.5mm x 8.7mm and weighs 170 gm. It has 2 GB of internal memory, but also comes with free Cloud storage for all Amazon content. It also come with a charger and has provisions for Wi-Fi.
Beagle will be available in four coloursâ€“ jade green, grapefruit, purple and turquoise. However, the company has not shed any light on how much the device will cost without the contract (if it is offered without a contract at all). Moreover, it has not announced an Indian pricing or launch date. So if you are based in India, you may have some time to consider whether this 'cheap' e-reader is worth buying.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)