Word of an e-reader from txtr GmbH -- a platform for online document hosting and storage -- has been making the rounds for a while now, with the thing finally making the leap from vaporware to full fledged gadgethood at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday. Built around an ARM11 CPU and a 6-inch grayscale e-Ink display, this guy features support for ePub format documents, microSD card storage (ships with 8GB) and access to your documents either via USB, WiFI, or the txtr Net wireless service -- which, as near we can tell is Germany-only -- where you can expect to pay about €14.99 ($22) a month for a three month contract or $11.99 ($18) per month for the year. Among the many enticements offered to lure you away from Amazon (or, perhaps, Barnes and Noble), the company is promising that this will be an entirely open platform for devs, and they're throwing in a novel by Thomas Klupp (which, as far as we can tell, is only available in German). Pre-orders start December 1st, 2009 for €319 ($477), with plans to get these guys in European and American customer's hands before Christmas. PR after the break.
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World Premiere: txtr at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Berlin, October 14th, 2009--This is what fans of digital reading pleasure have been waiting for: Today, txtr GmbH presents its online-compatible txtr Reader at the Frankfurt Book Fair. At the same time, the txtr Store is launched, allowing to easily and conveniently acquire eBooks from your home and soon also when you are away from home. In contrast to competitors, txtr Reader as well as the platform are open for developers in the form of an SDK with documented APIs. Thus it will be still this year that the Berlin based start-up company will offer the first open overall solution for acquiring, storing, publishing, and sharing digital documents – while allowing full mobility. And the reading matter will be provided, too: The txtr Reader will have the successful novel "Paradiso" by Thomas Klupp pre-installed which was published in 2009 by Berlin Verlag, as well as numerous excerpts from notable publishing companies such as Rowohlt, S. Fischer, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Droemer Knaur, Luchterhand, DVA, and Heyne, and also complete versions of Polyglott Cityguides and Langenscheidt language guides.
On December 1st, 2009, the sale of the txtr Reader for 319.00 €, including VAT, is launched on txtr.com. It is planned to deliver the first devices to customers in all of Europe and in the US already before Christmas. Mobile Phone and Shop System will be available by then within Germany, an extension of the services to include Austria and Switzerland is planned for 2010. Navigating within txtr Store and downloading of the bought documents via txtr Net remain cost-free. For synchronizing digital texts, publications, and books between platform and Reader the price after one test month is 14.99 € per month or 11.99 € per month when the customer chooses to use it for three months or twelve months respectively. Each owner of a txtr Reader from the very start can search, buy, and download from the txtr Store more than 20,000 eBooks in ePub-format and synchronize the texts he stored at txtr.com. When you add the texts that are uploaded by the txtr community and the German and English eBooks by projects like Gutenberg and Manualsmania, the user has access to about a million digital open source documents.
txtr Reader - a next generation Reader: txtr Reader is elegant and weighs only 300 gram. With its 6 inch display it allows for an easy, non-fatiguing reading just like reading paper. The e-Ink technology used, working without any background light, guarantees texts with up to 16 greyscales that are sharp and perfectly readable even in bright sunlight. The device with its simple design can be operated ergonomically with only one hand by way of the Page Pad at the side and it provides an easy and intuitive navigation in the txtr Store and in the private and public text collections. With the help of an optimized display controller the txtr Reader reacts much quicker than the devices of competitors. The movement sensor allows texts to be displayed vertically as well as horizontally. At the same time, the high power efficiency allows long battery life, so the user can read for weeks without any interruptions. The txtr Reader is connected to the platform online as well as mobile via the txtr Net, so a separate contract with a mobile phone provider is not necessary. All personal texts, whether they are being uploaded or sent to txtr.com via e-mail, are always updated and available. Thus, txtr offers a real open solution that not only makes eBooks readable but also many other forms of digital document formats. The Reader and the platform are open to developers in the form of an SDK with documented APIs. The compact text files are stored on customary micro-SD- cards. When the user acquires a txtr Reader, a 8 GB SD-card will also be delivered to him. Txtr Store – the pocket size mobile eBook shop: From now on you can buy, search and forage here for anything you like. Thanks to the strong partners Ciando, Libri Digital, Libreka, and Ingram Digital, and thanks to the close cooperation with the publishing companies there are already now a lot of eBooks on offer for sale on the txtr Store that can be accessed via txtr.com as well as mobile via the txtr Reader. For reasons of perfect readability, txtr exclusively provides eBooks in ePub format in the field of commercial documents. The ePub product line will be extended constantly over the next months. The shop navigation is clearly laid out by the categories Art, Children's Books, English Books, Fiction, Guides, Humanities, Law, Medicine, Music, Politics, School and Learning, Science and Technology, Social Science and Economy, and Travels, displayed in alphabetical order. By means of the search mode the user can filter the commercial product as well as the documents platform with search words and he can extend and adapt his search for an author, title, search word or file format. On the Reader itself the best-selling novel "Paradiso" is pre-installed as well as ten Polyglott Cityguides (e.g. Barcelona, Berlin, London, Paris, and Rome) and four Langenscheidt language guides for English, French, German, and Spanish. Moreover, each owner of a txtr Reader has access to numerous excerpts from the programmes of renowned publishing companies (e.g. "Ruhm" by Daniel Kehlmann, "Der Schwarm" by Frank Schätzing, "Meine russischen Nachbarn" by Vladimir Kaminer, and "Das andere Kind" by Charlotte Link).
txtr.com – the perfect document base on the internet: The online platform txtr.com will be constantly improved and developed in close coordination with the community. It organizes all sorts of digital texts – eBooks, Word and Office 2007 files, as well as PDFs, ePub formats, and Powerpoint presentations. Doing so, different versions of documents can be saved, updated, and organized. Another extra is the Webclip function that allows to permanently save parts of websites at txtr.com and to directly pass these texts on to friends directly from the marked websites. Own texts can be published and shared with other users. For this, txtr.com offers an easy, flexible system of rights. Thus, a jointly produced collection of texts can be easily and quickly created and accessed from any place. A commentary function provides the opportunity to discuss texts, lists on interesting topics can be created and shared easily. Therefore the platform is not just perfect for all those who want to create a private text collection but also for professionals who want to share their texts with an editor or a working group. The platform not only serves the txtr Reader and conventional computers but also creates new applications for the current generation of mobile internet devices like the Apple iPhone: There is an application on txtr.com tailor-made for the iPhone with which you can access the platform's functions and download the synchronized documents onto the iPhone to read them.
txtr Reader facts:
High Performance ARM11 CPU
State-of-the-art e-Ink technology for maximum readability even in bright sunlight
txtr Net: mobile download, share, and organize documents
txtr Store: acquire books and publications directly from the Reader
8 GB SD-card with pre-installed content
Long battery life for long reading thanks to intelligent power management for weeklong continuous reading with only one charge.
Direct connection to computer or notebook via USB and WLAN
User interface and menu can be operated easily and with only one hand
Elegant and ergonomic form
Protected against dirt and splash water