It’s certainly a bit of an odd looking thing – part Lifeguard surfboard, part dinner tray – but say hello to Alex, the dual-screen e-book reader from Spring Design.
Bearing design similarities to the Barnes and Noble eReader tipped to be unveiled tomorrow in the US, the Alex comes with a primary 6-inch E-ink EPD (electronic paper display) backed by a 3.5-inch full colour LCD screen running Google’s Android OS.
The main screen is for your book and newspaper reading pleasure, while the smaller screen is there for surfing the web or viewing video, audio, photos, and notes.
A clever-clogs Duet Navigator feature lets users toggle content captured on the LCD and shunt it up to the EPD to save precious battery life.
Billed as being “ideal for professional, educational and entertainment markets,” the Alex packs a SD card slot, a built in speaker, headphone jack, and WiFi or 3G EVDO/CDMA and GSM radios.
We can’t say it’s a particularly elegant looking thing – it’s singularly failing to get us excited in the way that Microsoft’s Courier Book Tablet did – but perhaps Alex will prove to be perfectly charming in real live.
There’s no release date set, but here’s Spring Design’s full press release:
FREMONT, CA – OCTOBER 19, 2009– Spring Design today announced Alex™, the first e-book based on Google Android featuring full browser capabilities and patented dual screen interaction technology, the Duet Navigator™. The Alex livens up text with multimedia links, adding a new dimension to the reading experience and potentially creating a whole new industry for secondary publications that supplement and enhance original text. Alex’s dual-screen display design brings together the efficiency of reading on a monochrome EPD (electronic paper display) screen while dynamic hyperlinked multimedia information and third party input on its secondary color LCD screen, actually an integrated Android mobile device, opens a rich world of Internet content to support the text on the main screen.
Alex is the first Google Android-based e-book device to provide full Internet browsing over Wi-Fi or mobile networks such as 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM. With its dual-screen, multi-access capability, it provides the entire Web universe as a handy reference library, prompting users to delve into its vast information base to complement, clarify or enhance what they are reading. Alex is the first truly mobile wireless e-book device that gives users their own personalized library on the go, whenever and wherever they need it.
Spring Design pioneered its patented dual-screen device with ‘touch and extend’ capability in 2007, and has been working with major book stores, newspapers and publishers over the past two years to share its vision and the capabilities of the dual screen device. Alex brings together the efficiency of an EPD display with the responsiveness and richness of navigational convenience of the LCD screen. Its removable SD card gives users extensive storage, allowing them to expand their text with multimedia “add on” editions.
Ideal for professional, educational and entertainment markets, Alex dynamically transforms the reader’s experience with images, videos and notes inserted as ‘Web grabs’ or with custom text created by the user or other secondary authors pertaining to the subject being displayed. Users can create their own images and notes and capture them to augment the original text or just dynamically grab relevant content with Link Notes™, Alex’s innovative multimedia authoring tool to enhance multimedia publishing.
“This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text. We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations,” said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. “This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience.”
Alex™ features a 6″ E-Ink EPD display and 3.5″ color LCD display, earphones and speakers. A removable SD card will free up library space on the device while letting users archive content for future reference. The enhanced Android OS is optimized to support integration between the color and monochrome displays while preserving battery life. Users can capture and cache web content from their online experience on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery life. Browser features such as bookmarking, history, and security settings are built in and the device, with full Android browsing capability, is mobile-enabled with smart phone capabilities.
Spring Design is currently in discussion with, and enlisting major content partners and plans to release the Alex device for selected strategic partners by the end of this year.