Thanks to the ongoing war between Amazon and Barnes & Noble, today's eBook readers are as cheap as they've ever been. Likewise, they now pack more features than ever: from built-in backlights to 3G connectivity, these readers continue to influence how people consume text. However, a new German company by the name of Txtr is hoping to rattle the industry with its ultra-cheap eBook reader: the Txtr Beagle. Priced at $13 — no, that's not a misprint — it has the potential to become the least-expensive eBook reader to date ... but it comes with some serious compromises.
For starters, at 5" it features a much smaller eInk display than many of today's traditional readers. The Kindle Paperwhite by comparison packs a 6" screen. Furthermore, the Beagle isn't touch-sensitive, and it lacks: a backlit display, WiFi, 3G ... and just about every feature we've grown to love in our eBook readers. More importantly, the Beagle can only load eBooks sent from your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.
To transfer books users must launch the Beagle app on their Android smartphone (an iOS app is forthcoming) and zap eBooks via Bluetooth to their Beagle device. But with 4GB of memory, the Beagle can only hold up to five eBooks at a time. Did we mention it runs on two AAA batteries?
The Beagle is set to launch in Europe before this holiday season, but Txtr also has plans for a U.S. debut in the works. Engadget reports Txtr is in talks with Sprint and AT&T hoping they'll each offer the device with a small subsidy. Assuming it debuts at $13 with a 2-year smartphone purchase or renewal, is the Txtr Beagle cheap enough to lure you away from your Kindle? Or is this one smartphone accessory you wouldn't mind skipping? Sound off in the comments below.