Chipset maker Marvell was showing off several Android-powered e-readers at CES today. We had the opportunity to play with the Entourage Edge, Spring Design Alex, and a miniature dualbook prototype.
First we went hands on with the Edge which features dual displays (a 10.1 inch LCD and 9.7 inch e-ink). The Edge looks like a netbook when closed, but it opens like a book and the screen can be reversed all the way (so that it closes again with the screens facing outwards).
The device was very light in the hands and it felt kind of fragile (cheap). I navigated around the different Android menus and the performance was slightly sluggish. Overall the software felt like it still needed some good tweaking.
The Edge is scheduled to ship sometime in February for a price of $490. At this point I’m not really sure who this product is designed for. It tries to be an e-reader and tablet, but fails to impress in either area. For the same price, you could purchase a relatively new netbook and an e-reader (which would offer a better experience). I could be missing something, but I just don’t get the Edge at this point.
Next we got to play with the Spring Design Alex. This is another dual display e-reader which features a similar design to the Nook. I think I actually prefer the Alex over the Nook because it features a larger LCD screen beneath the e-ink display and it can run Android applications.
Engadget has reported the Alex would retail for $399, but we heard a different story. It now appears that a major wireless carrier will pick up the device and subsidize it at a competitive price.
If I had to choose between the Nook and Alex at similar price points, I would go with the Alex.
Finally we spotted a miniature dualbook prototype. This device looks similar to the Edge, but at about half the size. They had an actual working unit on display, but it only had enough battery power to boot up and then it died. Even though I was not a fan of the Edge, this mini version has me intrigued.