Spring Design’s Alex: the first Android-based, dual display e-book reader
By Darren Quick
October 19, 2009
Alex from Spring Design is the first Android-based e-book reader that comes with dual screens. The upper display is a 6-inch E-Ink monochrome electronic paper display (EPD) screen, while below it sits a 3.5-inch color LCD screen. The device features full Internet browsing capabilities that, through the use of the device’s Duet Navigator interface, allows hyperlinked text displayed on the main EPD to be clicked on to bring up supporting multimedia information such as video, images, and notes on the secondary color LCD screen.
Spring Design says this supplementary content can be used to complement, clarify or enhance whatever is being read on the main screen. The company says it has been working with major bookstores, newspapers and publishers over the past two years to share its vision and the capabilities of the dual screen device, but until such outlets start releasing “enhanced” content, users will be able to produce their own personalized multimedia “add-on” editions by saving additional photos, video or text on the device’s removable SD card.
According to Spring Design, Alex’s enhanced Android OS is optimized to support integration between the color and monochrome displays while preserving battery life. The dual screen setup also allows users to capture and cache web content displayed on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen to conserve the battery. Earphones and speakers are also included for audio and video content.
Alex supports Wi-Fi and 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM mobile networks and includes smart phone capabilities, although Spring Design hasn’t detailed exactly what these are just yet. Spring Design plans to release Alex by the end of the year at a price yet to be announced.