By Ben Bowers
on 1.20.10

spring_design_alex_e-reader1Despite the drone of analyst chatter related to whether e-ink based eReaders are here to stay or simply a transition display medium that will shortly be replaced, plenty of electronic manufacturers are releasing noteworthy devices based on the technology. Looking similar to the previously released Barnes & Noble Nook, the Alex eReader, built by Spring Design, features a 6-inch e-ink display on top, along with a companion 3.5 inch color touchscreen below. In terms of connectivity, like other eReaders the device will include built in wi-fi along with 3G compatibility, allowing buyers to access content from anywhere there’s service.

It also runs Android, which allows the device to do far more than simply read books. Outside of downloading and running apps found in the Android market, basic internet needs such as checking email, running Google searches, and playing multimedia content both on and offline are all supported by the device.

Taking things a step further, the Alex also supports so called “Web Grabs” in which favorite web pages can be copied and saved to the devices SD card based memory for browsing offline. Web pages opened and viewed on the devices bottom color screen can also be shifted for viewing on the devices larger e-ink display for easier reading minus the color.

Finally, one particular feature set that should appeal to students and business oriented users a like is Link Notes. Basically it’s described as an easy yet dynamic way to annotate any text with images, web grabs, videos, and personal notes, to further enrich the reading experience. The system even hints at being able to dynamically grab related content, but what that exactly implies at this point is still unclear.

In terms of content, the company has recently announced a partnership with Borders to offer eBooks from the book seller. The Borders online store will apparently offer more than 2 million titles and be powered by the Kobo eBook store. So there’s no need to worry that this powerful eReader might be marooned for lack of content. If these details have peaked your interest, unfortunately you’ll have to wait until February 22 to buy one directly from Spring Design. We’re hoping to have more clarification and a hands on review though to follow up with later. For screen shots of the lower screens additional functions in the actions check out the images and press release on the next page.

Images & Press Material on Next Page

Cost: $359

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