Jan 07 AT 4:31 PM Taylor Wimberly 5 Comments

Hands on Marvell powered Android E-readers

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.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://Website David

    If the Alex (can’t they think of a better name?) will be subsidized, does that imply that the wireless access on it won’t be free? That’s a big difference between it and the Nook, especially now that the Nook has been rooted and can run apps.

  • Riles

    I saw something indicating that the Alex is going to be distributed by Borders and the price is dropping to $359.

    Agreed on the question as to whether lifetime “free” web access would be included as that is what has me tipping toward the nook presently.

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  • http://www.flatlcd.info Cameron

    All I would say is that this model has a fantastic picture and excellent sound.It looks good with its slim surround. Straightforward set up (although the batteries in mine were duds-luckily I had spares for the remote). Decided it justified a new stand which arrived today-that is just brilliant as well. At under L50 I think this was a bargain. Top marks to Amazon;both items are first class and deliveries were made exactly as advised.