Spring Design Alex drops February 22 for $399

Spring Design have announced pricing and availability details for their Alex dual-display ebook reader, and as we expected without the might of Barnes & Noble behind them it's going to come in more expensive than what you'd pay for a nook.  As of February 22nd you'll be able to order an Alex – which has a 6-inch E Ink display up top, and a 3.5-inch color touchscreen beneath – from the Spring Design site, where it will be priced at $399.

Your money does get you a few extra features that B&N deny to nook owners.  For instance, Spring Design are billing the Alex as the first ereader to offer internet access while you read, with the ability to instantly flip pages from the smaller browser display up to the larger e-ink panel for easier reading.  They've also left access to the underlying Android OS open, which means you can check email, download third-party Android apps and do pretty much everything you'd do on an Android smartphone.

There's no shortage of wireless connectivity, either, with the Alex packing WiFi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM.  We're not entirely sure who's offering the WWAN connection, though.  We'll be catching up with the Alex while at CES 2010.

Press Release:

Spring Design Unveils Alex Dual Screen Android-Based eReader at CES 2010

First eReader with Internet Browsing While Reading

FREMONT, Calif. –(Business Wire)– Jan 07, 2010 Spring Design http://www.springdesign.com will take the wraps off the Alex™, the only dual-screen Google Android-based eReader to fully integrate web browsing and reading, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 7-10, 2010.

The debut of the Alex will take place at the press-only Lunch at Piero's media and innovator event January 7 and 8 where the company will demonstrate Alex's full browser capabilities and patented dual screen interaction technology, the Duet Navigator™ that enables Alex users to search the Internet on the 3.5" color browser LCD screen while displaying books, periodicals and even personal, educational and corporate documents on the Alex's paper-like 6" EPD screen. The Alex browser and virtual keyboard provide handy access to email, calculator and will accommodate a growing number of programs from the Google Android community.

Alex's network connections with WiFi, 3G, EVDO/CDMA and GSM, makes it the first truly mobile wireless e-reader device that gives users access to the Internet and their own personalized library on the go, whenever and wherever they need it.

Alex can be purchased for $399.00 starting February 22, 2010 on the www.springdesign.com site with other availability to be announced.

Spring Design created the Alex as an open systems device with the ability to download any book or document that conforms to the Adobe ePUB/PDF/DRM standard or .txt or HTML format. Alex's fully functional browser gives users the flexibility to explore the Internet to access text, music, video, and images to enrich their reading experience, or annotate text with comments, multimedia or user-selected hyperlinks to other web sites and resources found online or stored by the user on the Alex eReader removable microSD card.

"We designed Alex to expand the users' reading enjoyment, enriching the content whether it is reading for pleasure, education or business, and enhancing the capabilities with access to the growing suite of Android applications," said Spring Design Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Eric Kmiec. "We believe Alex enables readers to transcend the printed page to an interactive multi-media reading experience; letting children browse classic picture books with music to serious students who can view videos of science experiments online on the LCD screen while reading textbooks on the EPD screen."

Spring Design Eric Kmiec will be a speaker on a panel at HigherEdTECH, "From Dewey to Digital Free," an exploration of how eBooks, digital devices and sophisticated search engines are shaking up the world of textbooks and academic scholarship, moderated by John C. Itelson, Professor Emeritus, California State University Monterey Bay and Director of Instructional Technologies K20CETC, Friday, January 8 at 3:30 at Room N264 North Hall. Alex will also be on display at both Marvell booth locations, one in the eReader tech Zone in Central hall, and a main booth in South Hall. Credentialed press wishing to see the Alex at Lunch at Piero's may request an invitation at www.lunchat.com/mediaregistration.html.