A new e-ink-based product that the company was touting as the world’s “highest-resolution 6-inch e-reader.” Story HD e-reader launched Jointly by Google eBooks and iRiver. Well now, that e-reader is set to launch July 17 with the Google eBookstore on board, making it the first Google eBooks e-reader in Target stores and on Target.com.
The 7.3-ounce Story HD, which retails for $139.99 and sports an electronic paper display made by LG, offers XGA (768×1,024 pixels) resolution and has 63.8 percent more pixels and faster page turns, thanks to an advanced processor from Freescale Semiconductor based on ARM Cortex technology. It also has built-in Wi-Fi and allegedly gives you up to six weeks of battery life from a single charge. As far as other specs go, the Story HD has a QWERTY keypad, and supports EPUB and PDF formats with DRM.
Google eBooks initially launched with browser, Android and iOS support, allowing users to access books via mobile apps, the Chrome Web Store and browsers on compatible e-readers. Since December, it has included new retailers and now encompasses titles from over 250 independent bookstores, whilst making an app available on the Android Market.
Google writes in its blog post:
We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers. Manufacturers like iriver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete ebookstore. You can also store your personal ebooks library in the cloud—picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet.
The Story HD is a new milestone for us, as iriver becomes the first manufacturer to launch an e-reader integrated with Google eBooks. You can learn more about the Story HD on the iriver website.
The device itself is very similar in looks to Amazon’s Kindle and utilises the same technologies. The partnership shows Google willingess to expand its platform, in fact it asks in its announcement for any manufacturers intrested in integrating the eBooks service to get in touch.
Aside from the Google eBooks integration, obviously the most interesting selling point will be the crisper text that the higher-resolution display delivers. But with more e-ink readers moving to a touch-screen interface and a more compact design without a keyboard, the Story HD’s design faces the problem of seeming marginally dated at launch. It’s also unclear how much people care about Google eBooks at this point after it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since it launched late last year.