Kindle Vs Txtr eReader – Germany, Europe, US

The Frankfurt Book Fair has the scoop on the Txtr eReader allowing us to review Kindle Vs Txtr, the WiFi eReader.

Txtr is a very Germany-centric release (Txtr is a Berlin start-up founded in 2008.), although Txtr will release in all of Europe and the US in December. After the main comparison with the Kindle (focused on use in the US) we’ll review Txtr Vs Kindle in Germany and Europe.

Kindle Vs Txtr – The Main Selling Points

Kindle Vs Txtr – Wireless Store and Service

Kindle -

  1. AT&T or Sprint 3G depending on which Kindle you get.
  2. Browse Kindle Store wirelessly and get books wirelessly.
  3. Free Internet.
  4. Free Whispersync (synchronization of books).  

Txtr -

  1. 3G EDGE/GPRS, WiFi, Bluetooth and more (see Txtr In-Depth section below).
  2. Txtr Net connects you to Txtr Store – navigation and downloads are free. 
  3. Mobile Phone and Shop system in Germany by Christmas, and in Switzerland and Austria by 2010.
  4. Synchronizing between Txtr platform and Reader is a service that will cost 12-14 Euros per month based on contract length (12 months or 3 months).

Price, Book Availability

Txtr is 319 Euros (including VAT) and will be delivered starting December 15th. 

  1. All of Europe and US before Christmas 2009. 
  2. Price in the US ought to be less ($475 is too much) although that hasn’t been talked about.
  3. 20,000 ebooks to begin with. Partnerships with Ciando, Libri Digital, Libreka, Ingram Digital and more.

Kindle is $279 in the US if you get the US & International version. Kindle is $357 or so to get to Germany i.e. 272 Euros.

  1. Kindle Store has hundreds of thousands of books. 350K in the US, 290K books in Germany.  
  2. Kindle books are $9.99 in the US and $13.99 in most of Europe.
  3. Kindle is already available. It will start being delivered in Europe and Germany October 19th onwards.

Openness and Apps

Txtr promise a lot of openness. Their Press Release says -

In contrast to competitors, txtr Reader as well as the platform are open for developers in the form of an SDK with documented APIs.

Txtr is embracing openness in a lot of ways -

  1. Open for Apps from 3rd party developers.
  2. Open formats – there is support for PDF, ePub, Powerpoint, Word and Office 2007. 
  3. Online platform txtr.com to publish your own texts and books.  

Txtr – In Depth

Here’s a Txtr Video –

From Txtr’s Brochure -

  1. eInk 6″ screen with 600 by 800 pixel resolution. 
  2. Touchpad controls on the side (not a touchscreen). 
  3. One handed operation possible.
  4. 3D Accelerometer for automatic screen orientation. 
  5. An iPhone app to access Txtr functionality from iPhones.
  6. eInk optimized power management.
  7. Lithium-Polymer battery (2200 mAh).
  8. Wireless – EDGE/GPRS modem, BlueTooth 2.1, WiFi 802.11b/g, and 2.4 GHz wireless short-range (peer to peer).
  9. A connection to txtr Net (guess its their take on Kindle WhisperNet).
  10. Charging via USB cable.
  11. 8 GB expandable memory via a Micro SDHC card.
  12. Weighs just 300 gm and dimensions of 151 mm by 131 mm by 12 mm.
  13. Integration with Txtr.com online community platform and book store.
  14. 532 MHz Arm 11 CPU.
  15. (Unconfirmed) Txtr to Txtr communication and texting.

Txtr says there are 6 reasons to buy its WiFi eReader -

A good screen. It is enough to do just one thing – but do it properly. Works Naturally.

Freedom is a matter of Organization. Nobody reads just for themselves. The Future is Open.

The first three might as well apply to the Kindle. The last two are social features and openness – obvious advantages over the Kindle. Interested in what the Freedom/Organization quote hints at.

Kindle – In Depth

Please look at my Kindle 2 Review if you’re in the US and at the Kindle International Review if you are in Germany or Europe.

 Here’s a Kindle video – 

.

 The top 5 features of the Kindle probably are -

  1. Low Price ($259) and low price books ($9.99). Higher in Europe.
  2. Wide Range of Books – 350K+ in the US, hundreds of thousands worldwide (Europe gets 290K or so in most countries).
  3. eInk screen with great readability and great battery life.
  4. Free Internet, Free downloads from the Kindle Store in 60 seconds. No Free Internet outside of the US.
  5. Innovative features like WhisperSync, Read To Me.
  6. Bonus: Kindle for iPhone. 

The value proposition of the Kindle is very strong and the presence of refurbished Kindles only adds to your options. 

In the US Kindle beats Txtr easily

The Kindle just has a lower price, a lot more books, and lots of features. While the WiFi of the Txtr is definitely a unique feature and it has other advantages like openness and Office and ePub support it just doesn’t match the Kindle’s value proposition.

Txtr’s European price of 319 Euros (including VAT) translates to $475. You could get a DX for that price. Unless Txtr find a way to hit $300 or $325 in the US they won’t be selling very many Txtrs.

Txtr Vs Kindle in Germany, Europe

For readers in Europe, and especially Germany, it’s a slightly different comparison.

Kindle Advantages in Germany, Europe 

  1. Kindle’s price (after custom duties and shipping) comes to 270-280 Euros. see my International Kindle Price List for the exact price in your country. That’s still 40-50 Euros cheaper than Txtr.
  2. Range of Kindle books is still great at 290K titles. Much more than Txtr’s 20K titles.
  3. Unique features like WhisperSync (to sync across Kindles) and Read To Me (when not disabled by Publishers).
  4. The usual Kindle advantages.

Grey Areas

  1. How much of an impact would the Txtr to Txtr communication feature make?
  2. The Txtr online platform and what it brings to the table.
  3. Whether a lot of good Txtr Apps are created that significantly increase the Txtr value proposition.
  4. One crucial point will be whether Txtr Net allows for free roaming throughout Europe. That would be a major advantage for Txtr.

Basically, it’s not clear how much value Txtr’s social approach would bring.

The decision to open up the Txtr to developers might really pay off if developers add on one or more killer features.

Txtr Advantages in Germany and Europe

  1. Kindle WhisperNet is available – However, Free Internet isn’t, taking away one of the Kindle’s advantages.
  2. Books at $14 (due to wireless download fees and VAT) aren’t as compelling as $9.99 Kindle books in the US.
  3. Txtr, being a Berlin start-up, is very Germany and Europe centric and might be able to do a good job of getting ebooks in German, French and Italian on Txtr.
  4. Not sure what WiFi penetration in Europe is like – However, you have to think with the population density that WiFi is an advantage for Txtr.
  5. Lots of format support i.e. ePub, PDF, Word, Powerpoint, etc.

The format support and WiFi are both good features.

In Europe and Germany Kindle has a slight lead, however Txtr threatens

Amazon’s inability to get Free Internet, or at the minimum cheaper download prices, turns this into a tough decision. Kindle in Europe and Germany is slightly ahead of Txtr. Txtr does have the chance to leverage its base in Germany and openness to carve out a piece of the European eReader pie for itself.

The real Kindle Vs Txtr battle will probably be in 2010 when the fruits of Txtr’s App Platform begin to show up.

2 Responses

  1. Kindle was the first really ebook Reader. But I like the open concept of the txtr reader. The great advantage of this reader is the possibility for creating own applications based on the API (see http://txtr.com/reaktor/). But the disadvantage is the price.

    Kind regards
    Karsten

  2. How many titles *in German* will be available for Txtr? Is Suhrkamp playing nice? Or at all? How about the others?

    Language of available material does matter. Honestly; not everyone in the world reads English. And not all who do *only* read English.

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