Their first ereader, the aptly named and innovative txtr Reader, never overcame production and cost issues. It kept being delayed due to production issues and by the time it was ready in late 2010 its price ($400) kept it off the market.
And now it looks like the txtr beagle has suffered a similar fate.
There’s been no official announcement, but I have just learned that txtr has updated the, their 5″ smartphone accessory. It has been officially labeled “ausverkauft”. Depending on which translation you use that means that the device has either been discontinued or is out of stock. Given the general lack of market success I would bet that the beagle was retired as soon as the last of the remaining stock was sold.
Update: txtr has officially denied that the beagle has been discontinued. But given that it is not available anywhere I don’t see that there is a practical difference.
This device launched last October to a lot of fan fare but unfortunately never lived up to the hype. It was pitched as a 10 euro ereader, so naturally the price and its svelte size caught a lot of attention.
Unfortunately that price came with a couple catches. This device was only going to be available as a smartphone accessory, which means that you would probably only be able to get it with a new service contract. The beagle also came with a severe hardware limitation. It simply could not function as a stand alone device; it needed the txtr Android app to convert and transfer ebooks (more details here).
The beagle had a 5″ (600×800) screen, Bluetooth, a copious amount of storage and ran on a pair of AA batteries, but what set it apart was what the beagle lacked. It didn’t have a card slot, Wifi, or a USB port. These components were left out of the design in part to lower the cost but also to restrict how the beagle could be used.
This device was intended to be a smartphone accessory, so a lot of the excess components were deemed unnecessary. The beagle was supposed to be sold via telecoms, but so far as I now that never happened. Instead txtr ended up having to sell the beagle themselves. It retailed for 59 euros, or about 20 euros less than the Kindle.
I have been told that txtr never had much success in selling the beagle, and that by mid-July they had sold fewer than 100 units (seriously). That really comes as no surprise. By the time the beagle hit the market in April 2013 it was no longer the cheapest or the lightest ereader, so consumers didn’t buy it.