Android-powered Alex e-reader to launch mid-April

If you haven’t heard of Alex, blame the iPad. Alex is a new e-reading device powered by Google’s Android operating system that is now scheduled to launch just a matter of weeks after Apple’s new tablet device.

The Alex, created by a company called Spring Design, is a 4.7″-by-8.9″ e-reader, just half an inch thick, and has compatibility with EPUB, PDF, HTML, and TXT formats. It runs a mobile version of Google Books.

The device itself contains two screens: one that actually displays the pages of the book and one that runs a simplified version of Android. That allows the use of certain applications, like Web browsing through its built-in Wi-Fi, e-mail, and music playback.

Spring also claims that the e-ink used in its device has a faster refresh rate than any other e-reader. It comes with 2GB of packed-in memory and there is a microSD card slot.

The Alex will come priced at $399, putting it at an interesting middle ground between devices like the Nook and Kindle, and Apple’s iPad.