Google eBooks is partnering with Korean electronics manufacturer iriver to release the Story HD, an e-book reading device integrated with the Google eBooks platform. The Story HD is an e-ink device with wi-fi connectivity and beginning July 17 it will be priced at $140 and sold exclusively through Target stores.
Google eBooks is the last of the major e-reading software platforms to offer a reading device integrated with its e-reading software. The new device will allow Google eBooks’s consumer to buy and download e-books from the Google eBooks store directly to their Story HD devices. The new device and Google eBooks’s partnerships with iriver and Target were announced on the Google Blog.
But while the iriver Story HD is priced competitively, its design (which resembles the Amazon Kindle 2) and basic technology may seem a bit dated to consumers. Google eBooks is releasing its own e-reading device at a time when B&N (Nook Simple Touch) and Kobo (Kobo Touch Edition) have both released smaller (5”) black and white touchscreen e-ink devices with increased processing power and with social reading software aimed at heightening the enjoyment of reading.
That said, the Google eBooks/Story HD has some interesting features. It has a 6 inch screen and is said to have 63% more pixels than other e-readers, offering sharper, more legible text and images. The device is said to have a more powerful processor (faster page-turns) and iriver claims the battery will last more than a month (6 weeks) on a single charge. The device also has an expandable SD card and a physical keyboard. Presumably, consumers will also be able to use the device to buy e-books from indie physical bookstores who have signed on as part of Google eBooks's partnership with the American Booksellers Association.