Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Iriver and Google Partner on New E-reader


And since launching Google eBooks in December, the company has added new retailers --growing to include more than 250 independent bookstores -- and made Google eBooks available in Android Market. Google also extended its affiliate network and updated its family of Google Books APIs.

Not satisfied to compete with Facebook alone, Google has now set its sights on Amazon's digital empire. On July 17, Google and iriver will debut an e-book reader to compete with the Kindle, the Nook and other emerging devices.

Dubbed the iriver Story HD e-reader, the new device Relevant Products/Services is the first integrated with the open Google eBooks platform. The platform lets consumers buy and read Google e-books over Wi-Fi. The iriver Story HD e-reader will make its debut at Target stores for $139.99.

The device offers a high-resolution e-ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard and gives consumers over-the-air access Relevant Products/Services to hundreds of thousands of Google eBooks for sale and more than 3 million for free. One of the key differentiators is that the device lets consumers read the books via Wi-Fi so they don't have to download them or transfer them from the e-reader with a cord.

Google's Indie Push

"We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers," Pratip Banerji, product manager at Google Books, wrote in a company blog. "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."

Much like the Kindle and the Nook, the iriver Story HD also lets consumers store Relevant Products/Services their personal e-books library in the cloud Relevant Products/Services -- picking up where they left off in any e-book they are reading as they move from laptop Relevant Products/Services to smartphone Relevant Products/Services to e-reader to tablet Relevant Products/Services.

Although Google doesn't have the title library that Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer, Google eBooks does offer the ability to read Google eBooks on any device with a modern browser, on Android and iOS devices using the Google Books mobile Relevant Products/Services apps, through the Chrome Web Store app and on compatible ereaders.

And since launching Google eBooks in December, the company has added new retailers --growing to include more than 250 independent bookstores -- and made Google eBooks available in Android Market. Google also extended its affiliate network Relevant Products/Services and updated its family of Google Books APIs.

More Expensive than Kindle

Still, Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media, is not overly impressed with the new market entrant. Although iriver has a strong reputation for competing in the generic MP3 player market, he said the e-reader product is very similar to the Kindle and it's not priced at a discount. Kindle with Special Offers sells for $114.

"The shopping experience at Google Books is not nearly as easy as it is at Amazon. Part of the reason it's not as easy is because I'm not as experienced with it and I think I am typical of most consumers," Leigh said. "But also I think it is more cumbersome. Amazon has learned over the years how to simplify the shopping experience. I don't think this e-reader will be competitive."

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