TMCnet Feature Free eNews Subscription
July 11, 2011

Google's E-Bookstore Finds a Home with the iRiver Story HD

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Set to launch this Sunday, the iRiver Story HD has a similar look and feel to most every other e-reader on the market today. The difference: the Story HD will be the first ever electronic reader to come loaded with the open Google (News - Alert) eBooks platform.

Google launched its eBooks offering back in December as a cloud-based alternative to traditional electronic bookstores. Users could purchase content, store books in an online library and then access them from nearly any device using their Google account.

The biggest impediment to widespread adoption was the fact that the e-bookstore wasn't built into any dedicated device, meaning users would need to download the book to their computer and then transfer it to their e-reader. The impending launch of the Story HD will put that worry to rest and allow Google to compete on the same level with Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

The Story HD has a high-resolution 1,024-by-768 E Ink display, and ARM (News - Alert) processor and 2GB of storage, according to PC Magazine. The e-reader has 63 percent more pixels and faster page turns than its closest rivals, iRiver noted in a January statement teasing the device. The Story HD is also expected to be lighter and have a greater battery life than the Kindle or the Nook.

Unfortunately, Google's first entrance into the e-book space won't come on a touch screen device. The Story HD comes with a QWERTY keyboard positioned just below the 6-inch display.

Google's e-bookstore contains more than 3 million free books and hundreds of thousands of pay-for publications. Users can purchase the books over Wi-Fi and then store them in the cloud for later reading on other compatible devices, including smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

Priced at $139, the Story HD is in line with other competing e-readers that don't contain advertisements. Although it will be difficult to take market share away from established companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Google does have a few things going for them.

First, the company has developed relationships with more than 250 independent bookstores, giving Story HD owners a wider range of publications. Second, Google can eventually integrate its e-bookstore with its other offerings, including Gmail and Google+.

Google noted in a blog post that other integrated e-reader devices are soon to come.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

» More TMCnet Feature Articles
Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]


» More TMCnet Feature Articles