This new eReader is being marketed to telecom operators but we think the technology and how txtr plans to market it might be something you want to know about.
First, who is Txtr?
Berlin-based txtr was founded in 2008 and is a technology-led B2B company, that provides a global but locally relevant white-label eReading solution to retailers, device makers, mobile operators and our content partners.
The txtr solution offers an end-to-end eBook discovery, purchase, read and share consumer experience, built on a back-end platform with store, personal library storage and an extensive unique international eBook catalogue.
From the txtr News Release (PDF):
The new 5” eReader is not only the smallest and lightest in its class, it also delivers more than one year reading experience. It does not require any cables or chargers, giving consumers a unique out-of-box experience to read their eBooks within seconds. It is the first companion reader to receive eBooks sent from a smartphone.
Only 100cc the txtr beagle is the smallest eReader in the world – mostly just 5mm thick. It weighs just 128 grams [4.5 ounces] , making it the world’s lightest 5” or 6” eInk eReader available. This device fits easily in any pocket or handbag. Unlike other eReaders, there is no need for chargers or cables, nor is there any installation. The product comes with two AAA batteries that enable users to read for more than one year, after which these can simply be replaced. The location of the batteries not only creates an elegant silhouette but also becomes an ergonomic feature as it rests easily in the palm of a hand. The device can be personalized with back-covers in four vivid fashionable colours.
The product was designed to unlock a huge, untapped go-to-market channel with tens of millions of customers, many of whom are not yet accustomed to digital reading. The txtr beagle is targeted to the 80% of the population that want an easy-to-use, stylish, light device with excellent display performance for reading.
While the new e-ink device is an interesting piece of hardware, Txtr’s business model is even more so. [Thomas] Leliveld [txtr’s chief commercial officer] said the targets of the venture were the giant global phone carriers like Sprint and AT&T, and the plan was to have them subsidize the device and offer digital reading as a cool value-add for phone consumers. Beagle offered them “a high return on investment.” “We’re after the 80% of of the cell phone market that aren’t digital readers,” he added.
Txtr’s Chief Commercial Officer Thomas Leliveld said he expected the price to be as low as €9.90, some 10 times cheaper than other players in the market.
Txtr’s backers include US-headquartered multinational 3M, which made a “strategic investment” in 2011.