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Android e-reader boasts dual displays

Oct 20, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

Spring Design announced an Android-based e-book reader that boasts two displays and full browser capabilities. The WiFi- and 3G-enabled “Alex” offers both the typical 6-inch monochrome EPD (electronic paper display) display for reading, plus a linked, 3.5-inch color display for Android content and multimedia, says the company.

Touted as the first Android-based e-book device to provide full Internet browsing, the Alex features a 6-inch EPD display from E-Ink, as do most e-reader devices, including Amazon's Linux-based, market leading Kindle 2. Yet the Alex appears to be alone in also providing a 3.5-inch color LCD display. In addition, the device features earphones, speakers, and side-mounted control buttons, says the Fremont, Calif.-based startup.

For communications, the Alex provides both WiFi and a cellular data modem that supports 3G, EVDO/CDMA, and GSM, says the company. Cellular telephony does not appear to be supported. A removable SD card is said to enable enables users to expand their text with multimedia add-on editions, says the company.

Spring Design's Alex
(Click to enlarge)

The Alex's dual-display technology is dubbed by Spring Design as the "Duet Navigator." The idea is to offer the reader a way to explore multimedia content and other background information related to the text in a separate, but linked display. The Android OS is said to be optimized to support integration between the color and monochrome displays while preserving battery life. Users can capture and cache web content on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen "without taxing the battery life," says the company.

The Alex provides images, videos, and notes inserted as "Web grabs" or displayed as "custom text created by the user or other secondary authors pertaining to the subject being displayed," says Spring Design.

Users can also create their own images and notes and use them to augment the original text, says the company. In addition, users can "dynamically grab" relevant content with Spring Design's multimedia authoring tool, called Link Notes. Browser features are said to include bookmarking, history, and security settings.


Spring Design plans to release the Alex for selected strategic partners by the end of this year. More information should eventually appear on its bare-bones web-site, here. A story on the Alex by eWEEK may be found here.

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