The iRiver Story HD is the first eBook Reader to ship with built-in support for Google’s eBook platform. It also happens to have a 1024 x 768 pixel display, giving the device a higher pixel density than most other eReaders with 6 inch E Ink displays.
But that’s not the only special feature the little guy has. It turns out the device also has a web browser. In fact, it kind of has to, because that’s what you use to access Google’s book store.
It turns out the browser is only really supposed to access the one site. There’s no URL bar, which makes it kind of tricky to surf the web. But it turns out you can break out of the Google eBookstore prison with the following steps:
- From the Help menu, select the “Books” link at the top of the page.
- This takes you to books.google.com.
- From here, select the link at the top of the page that says “Web.”
That’s it. You should now be at Google.com. All you have to do is enter a URL or search term in the big box in the middle of the page to visit any site in Google’s index.
Of course, in order to visit another web site you’ll have to either select hyperlink after hyperlink… or keep clicking the back button until you return to Google so you can start a new search.
Like most devices with E Ink displays, the iRiver Story HD has a relatively slow screen refresh rate, so the web browsing experience isn’t perfect. But if you’re looking for an excuse to buy an eBook Reader instead of a general purpose tablet, the ability to surf the web over WiFi is certainly a step in the right direction.
Other eBook Readers with built-in web browsers include the Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch and the Kobo Touch.
From what I can tell, one way iriver has been able to keep the Story HD’s price in range of the competition is the absence of any sort of multimedia. From the lack of a headphone jack, I’m guessing the Story HD lacks any sort of audio codec (typically Wolfson in all these readers) built on the motherboard.
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