This week at CES we're going to get our first peek at the Alex eReader from Spring Design, a dual-screen eReader that reminds us of the idea behind the Entourage Edge -- an eReader screen coupled with a full-color LCD -- with an implementation that's reminiscent of the Barnes & Noble Nook. But while the Edge is a netbook-sized device and the Nook's LCD screen is a narrow band, the Alex keeps to the handheld form factor yet provides more LCD screen real-estate for greater flexibility.
The eReader features a 3.5-inch LCD screen and a 6-inch Electronic Paper Display (EPD) screen. Thanks to Spring Design's screen interaction software, the Duet Navigator, both screens run on the same software (Android) and interact. Users will be able to access the internet and apps on the LCD side while working with eBooks or other documents on the EPD side. Spring Designs promises a full handheld experience integrated with the benefits of eReader technology.
Since Alex supports the EPUB format there's even greater potential for interactive and embedded elements within eBooks. And today Spring Design announced an agreement with Google Books that will allow owners to access the over one million public domain books available on the service. Users can download the books for access on the EPD screen or via the Android browser on the LCD screen. EPUB books can be searched and downloaded using Google API applications provided by Alex's eReader.
With the ability to connect via wi-fi or 3G (depending on the partners), the Alex is set to challenge traditional eReaders as well as the new crop of tablets and MIDs at CES. We'll have a hands-on with the device later this week.