iRiver Story to preface WHSmith entry into e-book biz
The newsagent will be offering a Wi-Fi equipped version of the Story, which sports a 600 x 800, 16 shades of grey E Ink display, 2GB of on-board Flash storage and a Micro SD card slot for more. It takes cards of up to 32GB in capacity.
Like the Kindle DX - reviewed here - the Story has a Qwerty keyboard.
You can read our Story review here.
WHSmith will be selling the reader for £250. It will be embedding the Story with a link through to its own e-bookshop. It is also selling a Wi-Fi-less model for £175, currently discounted online to £149.
For those readers who recall iRiver's days of glory in the early 2000s as a supplier of some rather good MP3 players will remember that the company shut up shop over here after being badly beaten in the market by the iPod.
The WHSmith deal doesn't make a return to the UK per se - the Story is being brought in by Wokingham-based importer New Technology Products, aka NTP. ®
they are good
But need to be cheaper. I have found mine to be really handy, lighter than the books i have, able to swap to the next book easily. just basically having them all to hand.
But the readers are too expensive and in most cases, so are the books! If it's cheaper to buy a paperback and have Amazon post it to you, than get an electronic version then something has gone badly wrong with the model.
I'm still using my iRiver must be almost 10 years on (plays mp3s for hours, FM radio fine, records my daughter's music lessons for her, only let down by not being usable with Audible). If I thought one of these ebook readers lasted as long--without becoming obsolete--they'd be a reasonable deal.
Thinking about it, £250 was about what I paid for the mp3 player the best part of a decade ago: £25 a year = a couple of quid a month. Not a bad deal for the hardware side of things.
Still too steep
iRiver kit was bloody good. Ugly as sin, but always worked and I even played Doom on my IHP-140 MP3 player with hacked firmware!
£150 sovs is still too steep for an ebook reader for me. You might as well cough up for an ACER notebook then at least you could do more with it when you weren't reading books.
Keyboard = fail
Ugh. Why do ebook reader designers persist with adding naff looking horrid pokey unnecessary bulk-increasing keyboards. No I'm not going to use it to 'make notes and annotations' and nor is 99% of the demographic.
Sweet spot for price and features
There will be half a dozen tablets by the end of the year, probably running android, almost certainly capable of reading books as well as other tasks and many of them will be in the £200 range. Some might even be kitted out with a Pixel Qi screen making them nice and readable.
I reckon £99-150 is the absolute limit for an e-ink device. Any more and people will start looking at tablets. Manufacturers of ereaders could also help their sales prospects by not tying themselves to just one book format or store and supporting several popular DRMs to ensure maximum compatibility. Better yet, it would be in the interests of people like iRiver, Sony etc. and online book providers to adopt an industry standard and logo that assures cross compability of titles. Not only would it increase consumer confidence but it would put huge pressure on the likes of Amazon and Apple to conform too.