Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-reader, $139.99

Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-reader, $139.99

Summary: Google's own e-reader, the iriver Story HD, is coming to Target this Sunday. But will it be a Kindle-killer?

SHARE:
TOPICS: Hardware, Google
40

After taking on Facebook with the introduction of Google+ last week, Google is giving Amazon a run for its money this week by launching its own e-reader, the iriver Story HD. The device will retail in Target stores and online starting July 17 for $139.99, which puts it in direct competition with the Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi.

Gallery: iriver Story HD vs. Kindle Wi-Fi

First introduced at CES 2011 and pegged for a May arrival, the Story HD has an impressive 6" XGA (1024X768) e-ink display with "63% more pixels and faster page turns than the competition," according to iriver's January press release. It sports a Freescale Cortex A8 CPU, with 2GB of onboard storage, a SDHC card slot and built-in Wi-Fi.

Like Amazon's Kindle, the Story HD features a QWERTY keyboard but offers an up/down button for page-turning, rather than the more common left/right button. Judging from Engadget's early demo of the e-reader, it looks to be the same slim size as the Kindle Wi-Fi, but with a two-tone design that extends to the back cover. iriver claims the Story HD will last 3-weeks without a charge but did not specify how it arrived at this number. My guess is the Wi-Fi must be turned off with the lowest possible screen setting to achieve this duration.

iriver's Story HD is designed for Google's e-Books platform, with direct access to over three million free (in public domain) and for-purchase Google e-Books (including over 250 independent bookstores) via Wi-Fi. Because Google's special sauce is that is content is in the cloud, users can access most e-books online without having to download a copy locally (except copyright-protected works). Plus, they will have the added benefit of being able to continue reading the same cloud-based e-book from desktop to phone to e-reader, without having to move the same file between multiple devices. Of course, the Story HD is not absolutely tied to the Google cloud: it also supports Adobe EPUB and PDFs with DRM, which means users can also enjoy public library e-Books as well as paid content, offline.

Google is not limiting its customers to only those who purchase an iriver Story HD; it is also making its e-books available to other platforms (PCs, iOS and Android phones and tablets, and other e-readers like the Nook and Sony Reader), and more g-Readers are to come according to today's announcement. But is Google too late to the game to compete with Amazon or even Barnes & Noble's e-collection and established partnerships with publishers?

What do you think? Will the Google's iriver Story HD make a dent in Amazon's dominance of the e-book market?

[Source: Official Google Blog, Amazon, iriver press releaseEngadget]

Topics: Hardware, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

40 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

    Kindle already synchronises from the cloud, so you can read from PC, phone and Kindle. Yes, you have to download the file to each device, but the reading position is kept in synch, and you don't need a net connection. Does the Google device work on a plane?
    A.Sinic
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @A.Sinic I don't think so. Also, Is Google copying others idea and making its own products? <a href="http://www.e2solutions.net/effective_web_promotions_seo_company_india.htm">SEO India</a>
      raghavtt
  • Display brightness???

    "My guess is the Wi-Fi must be turned off with lowest possible screen brightness to achieve this duration"

    I thought this was an e-ink technology. There is no "screen brightness" is there? 3 weeks seems reasonable if the WiFi is off, though.
    mmarquis
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @mmarquis Yeah, because there's no backlight. But I think you can change the contrast, but based on how eInk works it shouldn't really effect battery life much.
      snoop0x7b
  • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

    Hmmm.....
    My Kindle has free 3G and wifi.....
    I can sync across all devices and pick up where I left if if I want....
    So the benefit of this device is.......

    :|
    rhonin
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @rhonin <br>Same as Google+ and Facebook... Google just likes to shake things up but at least other companies make $$$ google is all about the ads.
      Hasam1991
      • How does Facebook make money again?

        @Hasam1991

        Oh that's right, it's ads. Just sayin...
        LiquidLearner
      • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

        @Hasam1991 Yes exactly! Google Just wants to display ads and not make money! Another brilliant Hasam analysis! You do realize that the ads are to make money right? It's not "Other companies make money" it's "Other companies sell things to make money, whereas google sells ads to make money".
        snoop0x7b
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @rhonin - the benefit is support for the epub format. This has been the single reason I have not purchased a Kindle.
      bluebeard66
  • fail

    the device: mechanical keys, no access to the amazon or bn bookshops - the simple touch is far better than this, and the kindle still looks (and no doubt is built) much better.

    the content: has anyone here ever tried reading a google book? They seriously have issues. Scanning and no proofreading = terrible output.

    so. no well-curated library, and gacky design: what was google thinking here?
    rousta_bout@...
    • iRiver makes good stuff

      @rousta_bout@... I wouldn't be so sure the Kindle is better made - iriver stuff is high quality.

      On any of these you can load content from various sources (even Kindle, just stick the mobi file in the folder) - you are not tied to one vendor.

      This one does seem kind of generic, though. Shouldn't the prices be below $100?
      Schoolboy Bob
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @rousta_bout@... <br>You're complaining about a few missed typos when the books are free? I recently read the Les Miserables and a number of Immanuel Kant's writings, along with The Prince, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. All for FREE!! There were fewer typos in those books than my $350 Pharmacology textbook that is in it's 8th edition.<br><br>If you don't like open source books, that's you're choice, but be accurate in your statements. The fact is a great majority of the open source books are available in both scanned and flowing text versions.
      mschauber
  • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

    Doesn't seem like much of an improvement over kindle, and its more expensive.
    kroguej@...
  • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

    Yuck, that device is ugly.
    LoverockDavidson
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @LoverockDavidson
      +1.
      Ram U
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @LoverockDavidson
      +1
      Hasam1991
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @LoverockDavidson

      I agree. The keys really are distracting. On the Kindle, the keys blend in to the bezel when you are reading on the device.
      WozNotWoz
    • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

      @LoverockDavidson +100
      Imrhien
  • Didn't the iriver designers learn anything from the brown Zune???

    And a bright white bezel on a front-lit display isn't the best choice, either. Be kind of hard on the eyes in the sun, wouldn't you think?
    Userama
  • RE: Move over, Kindle. iriver Story HD is Google's e-Reader, $139.99

    Isn't iriver the company that made those super crappy MP3 players back in the day of the first iPod? Not my first choice for a hardware manufacturer.
    NCWeber