Google Kindle

You might have missed it if you weren't paying attention, but last year Google launched an e-book store. Obviously, Google already ran its Books service, which scanned millions of books and made them available (limited by copyright) online. But for those books that weren't available through that service, Google last year launched a proper store so you could buy it in e-book service. But unlike Amazon, who launched their Kindle, or Sony, who made their e-readers compatible with standard ePub e-books, Google didn't make their books easily downloadable on any e-reader hardware. So you were paying to read them on the web, or on a mobile phone app when you're out and about.

This was crappy, so we're pleased to report there's now going to be a Google books e-reader. But it's not official, Google-branded merchandise, or even made by a decently well-known manufacturer. It's made by iriver.

That's right, iriver! Remember them? Understandable. They're a budget US tech company who used to make cheap MP3 players and nowadays make cheap e-readers. And their latest, the iriver Story HD, is compatible with Google's e-book store.

As Google explains,

The iriver Story HD, which retails for $139.99, is 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.

Sounds handy, huh? Especially if you've already bought Google eBooks to read online. No word yet on when the iRiver will make it to Europe, but we'll let you know as soon as we hear it's happening.

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