Monday, October 7, 2013

The future of eBooks lies with Google

Originally Published: July 26, 2011
It may seem like Google has their hands in everything, but here is something that I see as “one giant leap” for the eReader market.
Maybe it’s the tech geek inside me that notices these things, and to you the picture on the left may look like just another eReader, but I see the future and freedom, with open source/platforms that is.
Recently (July 17) a new eBook reader was released by iriver, the Story HD, at $139.99 and  packing a 1024 x 768 resolution in a six-inch screen.
Some other specs include a distinctive physical keyboard, mini USB port, and an SD card slot, support for multiple document formats, including DOC/DOCX, XLS/XLSX, PPT/PPTX, HWP, and PDFs with or without DRM, plus it all fits in a package the same size as the Kindle 3G, but is lighter, weighing only 7.3 ounces. It can’t surf the web, “officially,” although that’s a different story.
What sets this apart from the offerings of the Nook, Kindle, Kobo eReader, etc., is that this is the first e-reader to be fully integrated with Google’s eBooks service.
While there were previous Google-compatible e-readers, they required an eight-step process to transfer Google books, and you had to physically tether your slate to a PC.
To set itself apart, the Story HD lets you directly download them over a WiFi connection and all your books are stored in the “cloud.” Although other services like Amazon and Barnes & Noble do this, you don’t get that many choices of what kind of eReader you can buy and with Google’s platform you can also read Google eBooks on the Web, Android phones, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and supported eReaders.
Integrated with the open Google eBooks platform, this is only the first officially partnered “Google eReader.” In the future you could possibly see even more integrated eReaders from all your favorite companies, such as Acer, Asus, Samsung, I could go on.
I believe it creates the possiblity for a platform much like Android, which is open source, where the manufacturers create the hardware then use Google’s OS, or in this case, the 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.
This allows manufacturers to have access to a well-known and established ebookstore — with about 3 million books, most being free — and they only need to focus on designing the best hardware to attract customers, creating even more wireless freedom.
To sum it all up, the future of reading is coming and I have a feeling it’s going to look a lot like Android, being free and open.
The Official Google Blog says to stay tuned for more Google eBooks-integrated devices to come.
For more information about the iriver Story HD, check out the Google blog post and the iriverwebsite.

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