Google Ebook Reader

iRiver Story HD Ebook Reader

The iRiver Story HD Ebook Reader

Whenever a new ebook reader is unveiled, if it shows the slightest promise at all, it is generally christened the "Kindle killer" - usually before it even hits the market.

The new Google ebook reader - or the iRiver Story HD, to give it its proper name - may not prove to be a Kindle killer, but it certainly does have the potential to totally transform the ebook and ebook reader market.

It's a collaboration between Google and iRiver. It launches on Sunday 17th July and the reason that it might shake things up in the ebook reader market is because it will be the first ebook reader that's fully integrated with the Google eBookstore.

The Google eBookstore has been reasonably successful - and you can download books to other readers - like the Nook or one of the Sony family (but not the Kindle, never the Kindle). However, it hasn't taken off as it might have done, partly because of the relatively slow uptake of Android powered tablets.

Apple dominate the tablet scene, Amazon dominate the ebook reader sector - with some recently upgraded competition from Barnes and Noble's Nook reader - and it's hard for anyone else to break into these markets. Or so it seems.

Why The Ebook Reader Market Could Be About To Change

At the moment, the ebook reader market seems to have developed into a face off between the Kindle and the Nook. The Kindle is the leader by some way - but the recently upgraded Nook, complete with touch sensitive e-ink technology display - could tip the scales the other way in the Kindle vs Nook struggle and help Barnes and Noble to close the gap.

There is no shortage of alternative readers which, from a technical perspective at least, could more than compete with either the Kindle or the Nook. However, based on the evidence, it does seem as if customers have something of a preference for buying their ereader from the same place that they are used to buying their traditional, printed books. It seems that a strong association with books is, if not exactly a prerequisite, certainly a considerable competitive advantage for anyone who seeks success in the world of ebooks and ebook readers.

Looking at the Kindle, there can't be much doubt that the double pronged attack of Kindle books and the Kindle reader itself has been a major factor in Amazon's success. Sales of the reader boost sales of the ebooks. The huge selection of Kindle books gives customers the confidence to buy the reader. Kindle readers and Kindle books feed off each other in a delicious virtuous circle which drives Amazon's sales ever upwards.

Which brings us, rather neatly I think, back to the Story HD. By integrating with the Google ebookstore, the new iRiver reader could well tap into that association with books which it would not otherwise enjoy. In a similar vein, the Google ebookstore could benefit hugely from the fact that it now has an associated reader. It may turn into a symbiotic relationship that could alter the entire shape of the ebook reader market in the fairly near future.

Which is why the iRiver Story HD - or the Google ereader as it will surely be dubbed - may well be the most important ebook reader launch since... well, since the Kindle itself. It may not kill the Kindle, but it could, aided and abetted by Google, change the entire market.

iRiver Story HD Ebook Reader Technical Specification

At the end of the day, the Story HD is a plastic brick which is pretty similar to most of the other readers on the market. The big deal, is its association with Google. With that being said, it will need to be, technically speaking, up to snuff if it's to make an impact.

In appearance, it looks rather similar to the Kindle - possibly even the Kindle 2.0 - as it incorporates a QWERTY type keypad instead of the touch screen seen in recently released readers like the Nook and the Kobo. However, the e-ink display is XGA, with a resolution of 1024 x 768 compared to the Kindle's 800 x 600.

Whether that will be seen as a big bonus by the great buying public or not remains to be seen. It might open up some additional formatting options for ebook publishers in future, in which case, it may well prove to advantageous.

One further advantage which it may have over the Kindle is the fact that it has a slot for an SD memory card. This means that the capacity can be boosted from 1,500 books to 18,000 books by adding a 32GB SD card. Take you a while to read through that many books of course.

The salient technical points of the Story HD are listed below:

  • 6″ XGA e-ink technology display (1024 x 768 resolution).
  • Display has 16 grayscales and can be adjusted for 8 different font sizes.
  • QWERTY keypad.
  • 2GB internal memory – enough for 1,500 books.
  • Slot for SD card which allows a further 32GB memory to be added – enough for 16,000 books.
  • Fast page turns thanks to ARM ® Cortex™ processor technology.
  • Long battery life – approximately 6 weeks or 14,000 page turns.
  • Portable and lightweight, 7.3 ounces in weight.
  • Dimensions 7.7″ x 5.01″ x 0.37″.
  • Fully integrated with Google eBooks.
  • Collins dictionary included.


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What do you think about the newest arrival on the ebook reader market? 2 comments

Bud Gallant profile image

Bud Gallant 5 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Well done review. I expect Kindle to dominate for quite some time to come.


Thamisgith profile image

Thamisgith 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland Author

Thanks Bud. I think you're right, the Kindle is going to dominate for quite a while yet - but it does look as if other manufacturers have cottoned on that they need a reader and the books to go with it, which might make it a little more of a contest.

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