Google has finally made their way into the ever-popular world of ereaders. Launched over the past weekend, the iRiver Story HD is the first ebook reader to be fully integrated with Google Ebooks and is aiming directly for the Kindle.
Available from Target for the reasonable price of $139.99, the iRiver Story HD is integrated with Google eBooks. It offers 2GB of storage space, along with SD card compatibility and Wi-Fi capabilities.
With a price that is neck and neck with the Kindle’s latest offering (the 3G ad-supported model partnered with AT&T), iRiver could stand a chance at upstaging the Amazon Kindle – eventually.
Here is a a video that compares the iRiver Story HD to the Amazon Kindle:
HD Technology Display but Still Lacking “Oomph”
Early reviews of the iRiver Story HD are promising, but they still have a ways to go to catch up to the Kindle. The e-Ink display of the iRiver Story HD is – you guessed it – of HD quality. This comes from the latest technology of 768-by-1024 pixel resolution – the first of its kind to be distributed in the United States. The HD quality makes the e-Ink look better than the displays of the Kindle, Nook and other e-Ink devices.
But don’t let this fool you – while the display might look sharp, clear and fine, it lacks the contrast of the Kindle and Nook, which could make it a bit harder for you to read if you are used to the darker text of the popular ebook devices. Another sad little fact is that the iRiver Story HD only offers one font type – sans serif – so if you don’t particularly care for the font type, you’re stuck with it anyway.
Somewhat Comparable to the Big Names
The iRiver Story HD appears easy-to-use out of the box and comes with clear instructions for getting started. However, some reviewers have found the navigation keys to be less-than-appealing. Instead of page-turning buttons, the Story has a navigation bar that can be tough to get used to using, especially if you already own an ereader with traditional page-turning buttons or a touchscreen device.
The battery life of the Story HD claims to be up to 14,000 page turns (or six weeks on standby), which is comparable to the Kindle and the Nook. The physical design as far as length and weight is also comparable – it is lighter than the Kindle and falls right in the middle of the Nook and Nook Touch.
A Little Eyebrow Raising Info
It is a bit surprising to find out that this is not iRiver’s first attempt at an ereader – it is their third generation. You would think with two previous versions that iRiver would have already made some improvements in the design. Of course, this is the first time iRiver has attempted to break into the US market, so collaborating with Google is definitely the way to go. After all, Google has more than enough resources to make sure that future versions are worthy of the Google name association.
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