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Txtr to Unveil New eReader at Frankfurt Book Fair Next Week?

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. Txtr even provided the core components of the 3M Cloud Library. Not so coincidentally, 3M is the single largest shareholder in txtr.

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fjtorres October 5, 2012 um 10:40 am

I like that shape in the teaser, but not held that way.
That is the classic Rocketbook reader layout which has surfaced from time to time in a couple other readers. Excellent ergonomics if implemented properly.
From the price, I would expect it to be a lot like the Jetbook light and use AAA batteries (not-included) and be available in blister packs. 🙂
If it makes it this far by the Holidays I could see it as a nice stockig stuffer for tweens.
Of course, like all electronic toys, it is the software that really matters.

So, think you can make it to the presser?

cookie October 5, 2012 um 1:13 pm

I look forward to getting one assuming it has decent multiple language dictionary support, unlike the Kobo and Nook devices.

Exkursion: Das Vier-Liter-Auto der Buchbranche | Privatsprache – Projekt: Blackbox October 11, 2012 um 4:05 am

[…] unterbreche mein kleines Tutorial hier, um euch von einer Sensation zu berichten. Schon vor einer Woche erreichten mich Gerüchte, dass die Firma Txtr. aus Berlin, die einen eigenen E-Book-Shop betreibt, einen eigenen E-Reader […]

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