txtr is selling the smartphone companion on their website. Retail is 59€ and includes a 10€ credit towards ebook purchases, and shipping is free in Germany.
The beagle might no longer be the smallest ereader on the market (it’s also not really an ereader) but it is still a cute looking device. The beagle comes with a 5″ E-ink screen, 4GB of storage, Bluetooth, and is powered by a pair of AAA batteries.
The beagle is not going to be the ereader for everyone. In addition to a customer account with txtr, you will also need an Android smartphone or Android tablet. The beagle requires the Android version of the txtr reading app. That app is needed to convert ebook files into a format that the beagle can read.
If that limitation sounds odd, let me explain. txtr had originally planned to sell the beagle to telecoms so it could be included as an accessory in new smartphone contracts. The idea was that the beagle would be subsidized by the telecoms so it could be sold for 10€.
Unfortunately for txtr, none of the telecoms seem to be interested in carrying such a limited device, so instead txtr decided to try to sell this ereader in the consumer market. The beagle was supposed to have been released in the US market last month with a retail of $69 but so far as I can tell that has not happened.
In fact, it has been over 7 months since the beagle was originally announced and I can’t find any sign that any major telecom is selling it. I think I can understand why; this is a rather under-equipped ereader for the price.
At 59 euros the beagle costs only 20 euros less than the basic Kindle or the Kobo Mini, either of which are a much better value. The beagle isn’t even the cheapest ereader on the market; that title goes to the Trekstor Pyrus Mini which retails for 49 euros.
P.S. In other news today txtr has announced the launch of additional local ebookstores:
Berlin-based eReading company txtr now has local online stores in the main English-speaking countries worldwide. New Web stores have been most recently launched in Australia (au.txtr.com), New Zealand (nz.txtr.com), South Africa (za.txtr.com), Ireland (ie.txtr.com) and Canada (ca.txtr.com) with local operations already existing in the United States (us.txtr.com) and the United Kingdom (gb.txtr.com). These stores offer eBooks from both local and leading international publishers. Each store prominently features handpicked selections of eBooks to match the preferences of local readers.