Meet Spring Design’s Alex

In case you missed seeing the news coverage of one of the most talked about ebook readers at the CES this year, we are reviewing a new and much anticipated ereader expected to hit the open market soon. California based Spring Design has developed an ebook reader called the 'Alex' which offers users dual screens. The Alex Duet Navigator browser brings the world wide web to your fingertips in living color. The 3.5" LCD screen is located on the bottom third of the ereader that allows you to browse the net, watch videos and view photos. When you're done on the web, simply switch to the top 6"  EPD screen (with adjustable text sizes) to read the printed pages of the books you have downloaded to the device. The Spring Design Alex operates on Google's Android open operating system and makes use of a very responsive on-screen keyboard that lets you quickly update your status on Facebook and Twitter.  On board too is an MP3 media player and speakers for sharing your music with friends.  When you want to listen to your favorite songs in solitude, simply plug earphones into the provided jack and listen away. The Alex will be sold online beginning in early March of 2010 at the Spring Design web store.  It is expected to sell for $359.  The folks at Spring Design claimed late last year that Barnes and Noble stole their idea for a dual-screen e-reader with their very similarly designed Nook and proceeded legal action against B & N.  Spring Design says too that it was working with Barnes and Noble confidentially since the spring of 2009 but that the book giant 'stole' the idea to make the Nook. But let's set aside the legal haggling and look a bit closer at the Alex. It offers both 3G and WiFi connectivity and brings a new feature to the ebook market that Spring Design refers to as "'hyperlinking text with multimedia".  Users are able to create their own images and notes using LinkNotes-Alex's multimedia authoring tool. You can do some highlighting, use your own voice to record comments or add hyperlinks. A marker will give you a reminder that more related information can found on the EPD screen. Very innovative and interesting! The Alex is really a very remarkable ereader and it looks amazing. The few lucky individuals at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas who got to play with it said that it was very responsive and fun to use.  I'd say that this is the device that will directly compete with the Apple iPad as opposed to the black and white Kindle. It will be interesting to see how well the Alex ereader does here in the next few weeks and months. I look forward to seeing one in 'real life' and giving it a whirl! -C Rupp.

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