A couple of weeks ago txtr unveiled their Beagle e-reader - a 5" E Ink device that is powered from two AAA batteries and connects to their Android e-reader software via Bluetooth. txtr said they want to partner with network operators to subsidize the device and their planned price is €9.90 (about $13). Their PR wasn't very clear, and now we have some more info from txtr's Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Leliveld.
So first of all, it turns out that the txtr eBook platform uses PDF and ePub formats on the smartphone itself, which renders the pages into bitmaps and sends these to the beagle (via Bluetooth). This means that the beagle is really a very "dumb" terminal for the software. According to txtr this makes a lot of sense - everybody has a smartphone already which is great as an eBook platform. Making the e-reader itself simple allows them to reduce the price and complexity. The beagle can store several books (it's not as if you need to be connected to the phone while reading).
Back in March LG Display announced that it is already producing XGA (1024x768) flexible plastic-based E Ink panels for a Chinese ODM. Now we hear that Wexler is that ODM, and the upcoming reader will be called the Flex One. And as was expected, the device itself isn't flexible or bendable: but however it is very durable, thin and light.
The Flex One features LG's 6" XGA monochrome panel, non-touch. The reader sports 8 Gb of memory, ePub and PDF support and a mini-USB port (no wireless it seems). Apparently the refresh rate is very high, and the battery is good for about two weeks of reading.
Germany's Txtr says that they are providing all e-reading content on Acer's LumiRead store. This store is used by Acer's Iconia Tab A500 tablet - and will be used in further devices by Acer. Txtr is in charge of operating the e-book store. Txtr's boom catalog has over 400,000 commercial books (in 'western' languages) and supports e-pub and PDF file formats.
Barnes & Noble has launched their PubIt! self-publishing portal. PubIt! allows independent writers to produce ePub-based e-books, that can be used on many e-readers (not just the Nook). B&N gets 35% of the list price (for books less then $9.99, and 60% for more expensive books).
Google say they'll launch an e-book shop (called Google Editions) by July 2010. The shop will enable search across many third-party sites, and they promise that resellers will collect the "majority" of the revenue. Books bought in the store will work on many devices (the format isn't known, but it'll probably be ePub).
Bookeen's Opus e-reader is a small e-reader with a 5" (800x600) E Ink display with an integrated accelerometer. Bookeen has released a new version today, called the Opus Color. It comes in 7 different colors, has a new reading software (called Boo), and it's faster to run (they say it turns on instantly). Like the original Opus, the Color supports ePUB and PDF file formats, has 1GB memory and a microSD card slot.
Bookeen also lowered the price from 215$ to $199.