This Week’s Chitter Chatter – the £10 EReader, Virtual Lending Libraries and the iPad Mini

Fancy an ereader but can’t afford it? Would you change your mind if you could pick one up for £10?

Well apparently that’s what’s about to be launched. The txtr Beagle, as the new device is called, has a 5” screen, 4GB storage, and can hold up to five books.

At just £10, it will be £59 cheaper than the cheapest Kindle.  But the Beagle will not have Wi-Fi, 3G or a touch-screen and there is no rechargeable battery – it uses AAA batteries, although the manufacturers claim the device is so frugal on energy they’ll last a year.

In terms of downloading books, you’ll be doing it via Bluetooth from a txtr app, which you’ll need to download to your smartphone.

Can’t wait to get your hands on one?  You might have to wait a while as there’s no launch date for the UK yet, but you can always hop on a plane to Germany where it’s going to be available soon.

Talking of ereaders, we mentioned the launch of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite last week.  You remember – greater resolution, greater contrast and backlit, so everything’s sharper (and you can read you book in bed even if your partner’s turned the lights off.) 

Well, with the launch of the Amazon Paperwhite in the UK has come the launch of a lending library.  Yes, you can now ‘borrow’ ebooks for free. The downsides?  You can only borrow one book per month (ideal if you’re a slow reader) and you have to join Amazon’s ‘Prime’ premium delivery scheme to qualify (£49 a year).

Can apple’s leak? Well, the biggest Apple of them all over in the US has become decidedly leaky – especially when it comes to the rumoured (although there are so many rumours it must be true) launch of the new mini version of the iPad

The latest gossip is that the new iPad Mini may be even more desirable than its bigger sibling. If rumours are correct, it’s going to have a 7.85” display (rather than the 9.7“ of the existing iPad), a 1024 x 768 resolution, thinner side bezels (which will mean it will feel much slimmer in your hands), front and rear cameras and will come in 2 finishes: anodized black and white. There are rumours that the launch will be accompanied by the release of a new ‘full size’ iPad which will be able to connect to the new 4G network being rolled out by EE. 

Talking of tablets, we all know that Apple’s iPad has been dominant – 57% of tablets owners in the UK have one according to Ofcom.  But if any companies can knock Apple’s flagship device off its pedestal, it’s Samsung and Google –responsible for the highly popular Galaxy SIII phone and the Google Nexus 7 tablet respectively. Apple’s nightmare would be the 2 collaborating on a 10” tablet… and that’s exactly what they’re rumoured to be doing. With a reported display of even greater resolution than the iPad, and the budgets of 2 giants of the tech world behind it, it will be a serious challenger to the current market leader no doubt. 

Finally, we bring you news that the BBC has launched an iPhone app to enable listeners to stream live radio as well as on demand streaming of every station in their BBC library to their phones. Users will be able to favourite their top songs, share the name of a current song with a friend through email or Twitter and even set the app to launch a specific station as an alarm clock.