Google E-Reader Launches at Target

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The e-reader may have failed to save the Borders bookstore chain, but that’s not stopping Google from investing in one. The iriver Story HD, the first e-reader to integrated with the Google eBooks platform, launched Sunday at Target stores and Target.com for $139.99.

Google describes the device as “slim and lightweight with a high-resolution E Ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard for easy searching. It includes over-the-air access to hundreds of thousands of Google eBooks for sale and more than 3 million for free. With the Story HD you can now browse, buy and read Google eBooks with your e-reader through Wi-Fi, rather than downloading and transferring them from computer to e-reader with a cord as you can already do with more than 80 compatible devices.”[more]

“We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers,” Google’s blog post continued. “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.”

Google’s blog post continued: “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. Stay tuned for more Google eBooks-integrated devices to come. If you’re a manufacturer interested in integrating your next device with the Google eBooks e-commerce platform, please contact us at books-devices-request@google.com.”

PC Magazine‘s review:

Pros High-resolution 1024-by-768 E Ink screen. Fast, responsive performance. Google eBooks sync online, and with other devices.

Cons Hardware feels a bit flimsy. Requires too much effort to sync. Few reading customization options. No newspapers or magazines.

Bottom Line The iriver Story HD sports a fantastic screen and it’s the first ebook reader with Google eBooks integration, but an outdated feature set can’t compete with leaders like the Kindle or the Nook.”

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