Update: Google picks iriver for first integrated e-reader

Iriver Story HD to launch Sunday in Target stores for $139.99

iriver Story HD e-reader using Google's e-book platform
The Story HD e-reader from iriver is the first device integrated with Google's eBookstore. (Google photo)

Google on Monday announced the iriver Story HD, the first e-reader to be integrated with its open Google eBookstore.

The iriver Story HD will sell for $139.99. It goes on sale Sunday at Target stores and on Target.com, Google said in a blog post.

The Story HD allows browsing, buying and reading of Google eBooks through the reader and over Wi-Fi instead of requiring downloading and transferring them from a computer to an e-reader with a cord, as Google already allows with more than 80 devices.

Target said in a statement that the 6-in. Story HD is the lightest e-reader in its class, at 7.3 ounces. It comes with 60% more pixels than others, with a 768 x 1024 display, Target added.

The device uses a Cortex A8 chipset, and runs a proprietary Linux-based iriver OS, said Owen Kwon, general manager of business development at iriver.

The device is white with russet highlights, and the battery life is rated at a level that would provide 14,000 page turns, he added.

Sideloading of personal documents is supported via a SD card slot or USB 2.0.

Story HD uses buttons for navigation instead of a touchscreen, which enhances the clarity of the e-ink display, Kwon said.

Pratip Banerji, product manager for Google Books, said Google's eBookstore is already supporting Android and iOS tablets that rely on touchscreens, and he defended using e-ink as the first Google integrated reader.

Other integrated devices from other manufacturers are also coming, he said, without offering details.

"The e-reader with e-ink is still growing at a significant clip and is not even close to saturation," Banerji said. "So the general feeling is that e-ink isn't going away. From Google's perspective, we want to be available to readers where they want us and it's nice to read on e-ink devices."

Google launched its eBookstore and platform in December. It offers 3 million free books and hundreds of thousands for sale.

By comparison, Amazon offers a Kindle e-reader that runs over Wi-Fi with a 6-in. display for $139.

Until the first quarter, the Kindle was the best-selling e-reader until it was replaced by the Barnes & Noble Nook, IDC reported on Friday. Amazon is also said to be prepping two tablet devices that would replace the e-ink display with an LCD display.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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