When Berlin-based Txtr announced its tiny e-reader, the Beagle, at the Frankfurt Book Fair last fall, the plan was that it would cost under €10 (USD $13) because it would be subsidized by mobile carriers. “We believe e-reading is a great tool for mobile operators to strengthen their relationship with consumers,” Txtr CEO Christopher Maire said at the time.
So far, though, those deals with mobile providers haven’t surfaced. Txtr announced Wednesday that it is selling the Beagle directly online in Europe for €59 (USD $76). “We are in talks with mobile operators and will announce details of the packages offered soon,” the company says on its website (via Google Translate). “For those who do not want to wait any longer, we offer an exclusive and unique opportunity to acquire the txtr beagle.” The Beagle will also eventually be sold in the United States for $69.
At €59, the Beagle isn’t a great deal: It’s a barebones, Wi-Fi-less e-reader that runs on two AAA batteries. Users transfer ebooks to it from their Android smartphones via Bluetooth; iOS is not yet supported. The €59 purchase price includes a €10 credit for ebooks. By comparison, Amazon sells its cheapest Kindle (which includes Wi-Fi) in Europe for €79 (USD $102).
I’ve asked Txtr when we can expect to see deals with mobile carriers, and will update the post when I hear back. We can be fairly certain that a deal with German telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom is out, since that company recently partnered with German bookstore chains to release a €99 e-reader of its own.
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