I’ve just gotten an invite to a press conference which txtr, the German ebook services provider, is having next week. While I still don’t have any solid info on the event, rumor has it this is going to be one which I will regret missing. If sources are to be believed txtr will finally be getting back into the hardware business.
Buch Report claims to have a few details, but even their info is vague. The device unveiled next week will be cheap, light, thin, and small. It’s reportedly going to be smaller than the palm of your hand, only 5 mm thick, and cost only 19.99 euros.
This is supposedly going to strictly be an ereader, and it won’t have any web browser or other mobile capability. That last bit is rather odd because some of txtr’s partners, for example mobile companies in China, are going to give it away to customers.
I’m still shaking trees to find sources, but if I had to guess I would bet that txtr has found a use for the 4.3″ E-ink screen which first showed up on the Trekstor Pyrus Mini. There might also be a gadget coming which uses the smartphone sized screen (pictured above) which E-ink demoed a month or so back.
Then again, the thickness rumor doesn’t strike me as terribly plausible. I’m not sure you could make a device as thin as 5mm and still make it cheap. Even if you gave it the shape of the device teased in the invite (at right), that still won’t be cheap.
In any case, this is a marked turnaround for txtr. They had originally launched in 2008 as an ereader maker. Their first and only device was supposed to ship in late 2009 but was delayed into 2010 due to supply issues and then died when B&N and Amazon fought a price war which drove the retail for ereaders down below $200. The txtr Reader was specced to cost around 300 euros, or just slightly less than the US price for an iPad.
Ever since the txtr Reader fell through txtr has been developing their ebook platform and licensing to telecoms, web retailers, and more.. Not so coincidentally, .