Spring Design, the developers of the Alex Reader, a two-screen digital reader featuring both b&w E-Ink and full-color LCD screens, has reached an agreement with Google to provide access to more than a million public domain digital books online or through download. The newly developed Alex Reader runs on the Google-developed Android OS and offers full web browsing functionality through the color screen and the Android Web browser.

The Alex Reader represents an effort to offer the best of both screen technologies and functionality—an E-Ink screen for straight text reading like the Kindle or Nook readers with a backlit high-res color screen now added for simultaneous web browsing much like an iPhone or netbook computer. E-ink devices are notoriously bad for web browsing and the Alex Reader is the first of a new generation of dedicated e-readers that will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show this week that will also offer dual screen technology to allow readers the ability to read and browse the web with ease. The Alex Reader has already made something of a splash when it was unveiled in October. Spring Design has filed a suit against B&N alleging that the book retailer essentially stole the Alex Reader’s design for its own Nook e-reader. B&N has denied the charges.

In addition to full web browsing capability, the Alex Reader supports the ePub standard for e-books, offers Wi-fi connectivity, video, audio playback and full imaging in the standard formats as well as the ability to run Android applications. Google product manager Brandon Badger,called the new device “exciting. Combined with a wealth of free public domain books from Google, it provides great value to eReaders. Our relationship with Spring Design is helping to expand the number of ways people access eBooks and search for information online.”

Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design, said, “We are excited to be part of Google's initiative to digitize and deliver the world's books, and look forward to the markets and opportunities these efforts will open up for readers as well as independent authors."