Hands on with the Alex ereader

The Alex ereader is out and I got to look at it today for a few minutes. The top part is a real epaper screen and the bottom part is essentially a small Android MID. The device has Wi-Fi and is available now for $399, shipping in May.

The company had a few interesting points about their sales strategy. Their goal isn’t to sell and ship devices, although their ereader will play epub, PDF, HTML, and TXT files out of the box. They are currently partnering with international publishing houses and periodicals and will work with those partners to create an web store as well as a unique UI for each device. In this way a newspaper could offer a branded version of its reader and offer it at a subsidized rate to online subscribers or a publishing house or book store could offer their own branded experience.

The device is has a system for linking rich content to text. You can tap on a piece of text, for example, and view a video or you can make a link note inside a book that is available when reading. This goes hand-in-hand with their educational initiatives that would place university-branded Alexes (Alexi?) into the hands of students.