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Txtr Beagle Gets a Puff Review in The Guardian and Eviscerated in the Comments

When txtr unveiled the beagle gadget (it’s not an ereader) last month my joy at seeing new the new hardware quickly turned to dismay as I learned about the limited hardware, lack of true ebook support, and other poor design decisions.

I caught a lot of flack from txtr for that second post,and now it looks like a good part of it was undeserved.

I’ve just finished reading a review of the beagle in The Guardian. The reviewer (Michael Grothaus, who also writes for TUAW) liked it because it was cheaper than the Kindle and fit in his pocket. (I’m not sure why that is a plus over the Kindle; my K4 fits in my pocket just fine.) He also mistakenly claims it is absurdly cheap; which is only true if you ignore the cost  of the cellphone contract.

And he glosses over the format limitations and completely fails to mention how this ereader is dependent on an app which only runs on Android 4.0 and above, thus putting it out of the reach of 70% or more Android smartphone owners.

But what’s more important than the review are the comments.

Michael tries to downplay the fact that this device can only be bought via a cell phone contract, but most all of the commenters are raising that as a red flag. Between the folks who don’t have a smartphone, don’t have a contract, and don’t want to get one just to get this device, there is a significant majority of readers who will never want to buy it.

What’s also interesting about these commenters is that no one sees the format support as a limitation. I had thought that the general difficulty in loading content would be a downside, but I could be wrong. Or this could be an issue which most people don’t realize will be a problem until after they encounter it. I’m looking forward to finding out.

If that review is any sign, txtr has drastically overestimated the market for this device. I’m sure they’re going to sell a lot of the devices to telecoms, but I also expect a lot of those devices to end up in the refurbished and remaindered sales department.

In fact, that was the beagle’s likely fate even if it had been a good device; even decent Android tablets get returned a lot. My first good 7″ tablet was a refurb; I still like the original Galaxy Tab.

And while those refurbs likely won’t impact the current sales of the txtr beagle, they also likely won’t have much affect on the ebook market

via The Guardian

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Sturmund Drang November 8, 2012 um 7:09 pm

"What’s also interesting about these commenters is that no one sees the format support as a limitation. I had thought that the general difficulty in loading content would be a downside, but I could be wrong."

You’re assuming the buyers/commentors read.


Seriously though, if I had a smart phone why in the heck wouldn’t I read on *that*?

Name Required November 8, 2012 um 8:55 pm

I am going to buy a few of those. For playing and hacking.

As soon as unhappy telecos put them on a fire-sale 😉

Isles November 10, 2012 um 8:09 am

"Though the beagle won’t be available in the UK until sometime in the first quarter of next year, I was given exclusive access to a prototype and, after only two days of use, I’m pleasantly surprised to report that the beagle seems like it could be truly disruptive to Amazon’s Kindle leadership." – from Guardian review

When a device lacks even the most basic eReading software features, you don’t get so say that it will be "truly disruptive to Amazon’s leadership." Puff review indeed.

Venril December 14, 2012 um 3:58 pm

Info from Beagle’s website is slim. From the site, it appears any docs to be used on the device must be uploaded to the txtr website to your 'account' before it can be loaded onto the device by the app. At least I can mount my Kindle as a thumb drive and load what ever I want to directly. Another ITunes-like interface, except it looks like everything you might want to load is subject to Beagle’s scrutiny. Taken with the deceptive advertising about price… I’ll pass.

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