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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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iRiver Story HD Provides Not-Too-Unique Kindle Competition Powered By Google

Every few weeks seem to hear something about a new eReader or Tablet PC that is destined to be a “Kindle Killer”.  So far, no luck on that.  When it comes to the iRiver Story HD, I don’t think anybody is likely to think of making that claim in the first place.  That doesn’t in any way mean that it is a device without its virtues, worth taking a look at as a sign of future potential if perhaps little else.

Aesthetically, the Story HD looks like a cheap Kindle knockoff.  In practice, it still rather feels that way.  The Story HD has a cream front with a rather bland brown backing on it, but other than that, as pictured, the similarities are hard to ignore.  Sadly, this does not translate to a superior reading experience.

The feel of the device is a bit cheap, even without taking the dated color scheme into account.  The layout of the buttons is a bit strange, with there being no page turn buttons alongside the display like we are used to seeing in an eReader.  Even the directional control lacks a central button to select what you are pointing at.  Instead, you are expected to switch to the ‘Enter’ button.  On top of this, the QWERTY keyboard as a whole simply feels cheap and unusable.  Not huge inconveniences taken by themselves, but the accumulation gets a little bit much.

The major saving grace, although not an unqualified success in itself, is the display. It is a significantly higher resolution than the competition(768×1024), and is the first such E INK eReader display to make its way to the US.  Text is more detailed and you can fit more on the screen at once, should you be so inclined.  It just genuinely looks good, for the most part.  Unfortunately, that is not quite enough to make the reading experience a good once.  You are given no font choice, no margin or line spacing choice, and the contrast seems poor.  The font choice isn’t too big a deal, to me at least, but the default margin that you’re stuck with is basically non-existent and smaller fonts don’t stand out enough compared to the competition.  Maybe this is attributable to the light color of the frame, which others like the Kindle have been moving away from, but I didn’t have a white Kindle on hand to compare with.

An important thing to remember when looking at the Story HD is that this is not, properly speaking, a Google product and should not be viewed as such.  You can get an idea what an implementation of the Google Bookstore is like on an eReader from using it, but this is just the first Google compatible eReader.  If you get a chance to check it out, it is important to try to separate the problems with the hardware from the potential in the open platform.  While I can’t say that I would recommend picking up the iRiver Story HD over something like a Nook or Kindle, the fact that Google has found its way to physical eReading devices rather than simply offering apps has the potential to finally make it a major contender.

So Many Gadgets! What Do We Choose?

As I read the article about the new Kindle upgrades coming up in October, I started to feel really overwhelmed.  There is so much to choose from these days.  So, I thought I’d break it down a bit.  It is all a matter of what type of operating system you prefer (Android or Apple iOS) and what uses you have for your devices.

E-Readers

The Amazon Kindle has been out since 2007 and has evolved a great deal over the last four years to compete with the growing e-reader market: Nook, Kobo, Sony, and most recently, Google’s iriver Story.  It has been interesting to watch how obvious the competition is which all of the companies dropping prices and mocking each others’ style.  Note the latest touchscreen craze.

Then we have the NookColor, a mixed tablet and e-reader that has succeeded in knocking the Kindle off of it its pedestal.

In terms of e-readers, to me, the Kindle wins hands down.  I’ve really enjoyed my Kindle and am looking forward to a new touchscreen version.  Amazon has excellent customer service, and shows no sign of crashing and burning anytime soon, unlike Barnes & Noble and Borders.  If prices keep dropping the way they have, they’ll be pretty cheap here soon.  Now, if only we can stop the rising e-book prices.  But, library lending and all of the free and reduced priced e-books available out there might just take care of that.

Tablets

The iPad wins here.  I am not an Apple fiend by any means, but like the Kindle, the iPad has been around for over a year and offers a lot of different apps for various purposes.  I use mine as a laptop basically.  I also love that I can enlarge the text so easily.  Give me a year and I might be saying something different, but for now, I go for the iPad.  Other tablets to watch: Acer Iconia, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and of course the Kindle Tablet.

Why have a tablet AND an e-reader?  I don’t think of my Kindle as a computer. iBooks does not have nearly the book collection that Amazon does, and reading on the iPad Kindle app does not feel the same.  I can still curl up with the Kindle in bed or on the couch, and it isn’t hard on the eyes.  I love how both Kindle and iPad can fit easily into a tote bag.  Plus, e-readers are getting to be cheap enough that it wouldn’t be a huge setback to have both.

And then there are smartphones…but that market is a whole niche of its own.

 

 

iRiver Launches New E-reader device

iRiver has announced a new e-book reader that looks a whole lot like the Kindle 2 with its white cover, grayscale screen and keyboard.  It is called the iRiver Wi-Fi Story and is available in the UK for 250 pounds.  That equals to about $376 USD.

Wi-Fi Story users can download books from the WHSmith e-book store via the wi-fi connection.  The device is compatible with many file types: ePub, PDF, Microsoft Office, and images such as JPG, GIF and BIMP.  I wonder if the images work better for the iRiver device than they do for the Kindle?  Kindle readers have complained about the quality of graphics on the e-reader for awhile now, especially for magazines.

The iRiver Wi-Fi Story also includes the ability to play music.  Considering that iRiver is known for awesome media players, the ability to play music would allow the e-reader to fit in with the other media players made by the company.  Amazon recently released audio for Kindle, but it isn’t compatible with the Kindle itself.  Hopefully, that will be available in a future release.  The  iRiver e-reader definitely has an advantage with the media feature for now.

The iRiver e-reader doesn’t hold a candle to the Kindle price wise.  The Kindle is available for $189, which is almost $200 less than the price of the Wi-Fi Story in US dollars.  The battery life for the Wi-Fi Story is 900 pages.  The Kindle’s battery life is two weeks with wireless connection off.  I’m not sure how they get the 900 pages figure because reading speed depends on the individual.

iRiver’s Story: A New Kindle Rival

iriver_story_1iRiver is known for making great portable DAPs and PMPs. So everyone got somewhat curios when they entered the eBook reader market. Their sole reader — the iRiver Story has been out of reach for most of the west because it has not been selling anywhere in the US. That has not changed but it has gotten some hands on time at The Register.

The Story actually does look like a distant Kindle cousin but the reviewer assures us that it is only skin deep. It looks similar on the outside because it has a full QWERTY keypad and the same white color. But that is where the similarities end.

The keypad actually encapsulates all the main controls on the device. As was apparent from the images, all the main controls sit above the keys and four directional keys are integrated within the keypad. So at a glance it might seem like it has dedicated controls missing. The well integrated set up makes for a really nice façade if nothing else.

The keypad looks really nice and it apparently is very comfortable too. It supports PDFs, EPUBS and a host of other formats that include office files like word, powerpoint, excel, etc. That is nice and impressive. But if you want to have full functionality, you will have to upgrade to the latest firmware.

A main area where it loses out to the Kindle is the lack of built-in wireless. This means you will be tied down each time you want to do something online. Plus the bookmarking system is a slightly complicated series of button presses. One great thing about the menu system is that it thankfully bypasses tedious page refreshes every time to access a sub-menu or a new one.

Overall, it is a good eBook reader though.