Alex eReader to Access Borders' eBook Store

Alex eReader customers will be able to order e-books from the Borders eBook store, Spring Design and Borders announced Jan. 7. And - by the way - Borders will launch a Borders eBook store.

The Alex eReader from Spring Design will feature access to the upcoming Borders eBook store, Spring Design and Borders announced Jan. 7 during the 2010 CES expo in Las Vegas.

The news followed Borders' announcement that it will indeed launch an eBook store on, as well as offer Borders-branded mobile e-book applications.

"Our agreement with Spring Design represents another step in our digital strategy, which continues to focus on offering book lovers--including our more than 35 million Borders Rewards loyalty program members--high quality content on the device of their choosing," Ron Marshall, Borders' group chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We look forward to bringing a world class eBook experience to Alex users."

The 8.9-inches-long Alex eReader features a 6-inch (on the diagonal) monochrome E Ink display, as well as a 3.5-inch LCD touch screen. While the former is ideal for reading, and looks like a printed page, the latter is intended for Web surfing. Alex runs the Android operating system, offers Wi-Fi connectivity and weighs 11 ounces.

A Link Notes tool on the Alex can connect e-book text to related online videos, audio, notes or Websites.

The Barnes & Noble Nook also runs Android and features a double display. On Nov. 2, Spring Design announced it was suing Barnes & Noble, alleging that the retailer misappropriated the Alex's design. On Dec. 1, however, United States District Judge James Ware denied Spring Design a preliminary injunction to halt sales of the Nook, writing in a court order, "The Court finds that at this time there is a genuine dispute over whether the [Nook] was derived from information disclosed by Plaintiff to Defendant or was the product of earlier independent development by Defendant."

Spring Design additionally announced on Jan. 5 that Alex customers will have access to more than 1 million Google Books, through Alex's Web browser. Google approved of this, with Brandon Badger, Google product manager, adding that the Alex will help to "expand the number of ways people access e-books and search for information online."

On Jan. 7, Samsung joined the growing-crowded e-reader market, with the introduction of the E6, a 6-inch e-reader, and the 1010, a 10-inch version. Both included Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and Bluetooth connectivity, and allow users to make on-screen notes with a built-in electromagnetic resonance (EMR) stylus. They'll retail for $399 and $699, respectively, arriving early in 2010.

The Spring Design Alex eReader will be available Feb. 22 and retail for $359 at