E-readers are great if you want some reading material on a trip, but they're kind of expensive if you're the type of person who tends to lose or break stuff. The Beagle from Txtr takes away that fear, because at around $13, it costs less most regular paperback books to replace.
At that super low price you can't expect a lot of fancy features, so the Beagle doesn't include 3G, Wi-Fi, a touchscreen or, as is all the rage, a light. What you do get is a 5-inch screen, 4GB of memory, and a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. To download books, you order them up on your phone, then transfer them to the Beagle using a free app.
Of course, the battery is a costly component in most e-readers, so the Beagle doesn't have one of those, either, running instead on a pair of regular AA batteries. The upside is that you won't have to bring a charger or sync cable on your trip, and can simply buy some rechargeable AAs locally if you run low on juice.
With its tiny size and low weight, the Beagle is certainly pocketable — though, with such a small screen, you're going to be flipping through the pages faster than normal (or squinting to read). Besides that, any determination of whether the Beagle is any good will have to wait until we can get out mitts on one. Still, at that price it might turn out to be just the thing for a trip to the beach or for a young kid to use.
Because it's designed to work in tandem with a phone, Txtr plans to sell the Beagle through phone resellers who can offer a rebate to help keep the cost down, The initial launch is in Germany, although with both AT&T and Sprint on board, a U.S. launch might come sooner rather than later.