Android e-reader to land mid-April

The makers of the Alex, an Android-based dual screen e-reader, showcasing the adaptability of the Android platform, have solved their technical hiccups and will be shipping devices just weeks after the Apple iPad hits shelves.

US-based Spring Design told us of launch delays earlier this month, which set shipping of the Alex back from the end of February to mid-April. But the online store is now up and running and promises to get devices out by April 14 for $399.

The Alex features a 3.5″ colour LCD screen with virtual keyboard suitable for browsing and running Android applications, as well as a paper-like 6″ EPD screen, and connectivity provided via wifi, GSM and EVDO/CDMA. Like the Amazon Kindle, a cellular contract will not be required. Instead the cost of connectivity will be rolled in to the price of downloadable ebooks, although it’s not clear how users will be billed for internet access and other data usage.

The Alex will go up against Apple’s crack at the e-reader market, the iPad, will become available in the US on April 3 as a wifi only version, and then in late April for the wifi and 3G model. The Apple device will hit European shores (Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK) as well as Australia, Canada and Japan late in the same month.

The iPad will sell for $499 for the 16GB, $599 for the 32GB, and $699 for the 64GB versions. The 3G-capable models will be available at $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB. International pricing will be announced around launch time in late April.

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