Google is formally entering the eReader market with the launch of of the first device to include integrated Google eBooks access.
The Story HD, made by iriver, allows Wi-Fi access to the Google eBook store, where ebooks can be bought or downloaded for free.
Google's ebooks already work on over 80 devices, but users have to manually download the files to their computer and transfer them via a USB cable. The Story HD will be the first e-reader to allow direct streaming from Google's cloud servers to the device, marking a major milestone for Google's digital book service.
The move will likely result in other e-reader manufacturers adding Google eBooks support, particularly given the open nature of the API behind it. Google said it hopes to embrace all publishers, retailers and manufacturers as it expands Google eBooks further.
The device will retail for $139.99, roughly the same price as the normal, non-3G version of Amazon's Kindle. However, the nature of Google eBooks means users aren't restricted to reading their ebooks on the Story HD, but can switch between multiple devices at ease.
It will go on sale on July 17 in Target stores in the US. We can probabably expect a European release some time later this year, although at the time of writing access to Google eBooks outside the US is forbidden on any device.