Category Archives: google

Google enters the e-reader war(!)

Say whaaaaaat? The plot thickens! Courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly:

The Story HD is an e-ink device with wi-fi connectivity and beginning July 17 it will be priced at $140 and sold exclusively through Target stores. (emphasis added)

No kidding. $140 to compete with one of Amazon’s cheapest Kindles on the market. So it’ll be out in the wild… next Sunday? That’s odd. I hadn’t heard of this e-reader until now – not even speculation (though there are likely many reasons for that). And wait, Target?! Target? Even odder! I can see the Story HD in multiple retail sites – but an exclusive agreement with Target? That made me do a double-take.

But let’s continue:

But while the iriver Story HD is priced competitively, its design (which resembles the Amazon Kindle 2) and basic technology may seem a bit dated to consumers. Google eBooks is releasing its own e-reading device at a time when B&N (Nook Simple Touch) and Kobo (Kobo Touch Edition) have both released smaller (5”) black and white touchscreen e-ink devices with increased processing power and with social reading software aimed at heightening the enjoyment of reading.

The device reminds me of a huge calculator designed by someone from Apple waaaaay back when. It looks… okay. I’m just surprised they hadn’t tapped into the touchscreen UI already, but I guess even Google has to start somewhere. The pixel density is nice, though:

It has a 6 inch screen and is said to have 63% more pixels than other e-readers, offering sharper, more legible text and images. The device is said to have a more powerful processor (faster page-turns) and iriver claims the battery will last more than a month (6 weeks) on a single charge.

Now that most of the e-readers out there are touting a battery life of over one month (move over, Kindle) it’s getting much more difficult to discern which one of the devices is the mightiest. I think it’s going to come down to whether readers want to solely read or be able to do other things like browse the Web, play apps, listen to music, etc. Not sure where Google’s entry lies just yet.

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Eyeing the Cloud

The New York Review of Books had an interesting piece about Apple’s newly announced iCloud service, which I’m still mildly skeptical about – or trying to be, because at the end of the day, it’s coming from Apple and the glorious palm of Steve Jobs, and I, like many other iUsers, am stricken with fascinated interest. [Full disclosure: I own a Macbook and an iPhone 4.]

While I have used cloud services for most of my life (granted, before I really knew what “cloud computing” even was), the idea of sending all of my data to online servers terrifies me. Despite my extended experience with cloudwork, I now bite my lip whenever I look at my 500 GB LaCie external hard drive. Should I consider such a leap?

As Halpern notes, storage in The Cloud is not a novel idea – after all, Gmail, Netflix, and other services have been around for quite a while. But I wonder if my comfort with these services stems from the fact that they merely fill a particular niche: e-mail, movies, documents. Never macro-tiered storage, so to speak. The possibility of sending all of my data, my work, my life – delivering it into the hands of X company, whether it be Apple or Google or anyone, leaves me rather disconcerted.

So why does cloud reading sound like a better deal for me? Not as an alternative, just another option. 24Symbols looks like a neat bet, but again: solely another niche.

Am I safer because I have separate nooks for my digital life? I certainly feel safer, but the more I think about it, I wonder if I’m being counterintuitive. It’s more difficult to track my digital media circles when they’re in separate places. Putting all my eggs in a single basket does make sense – for Google, it makes sense – but my skepticism for something so fluid and seamless bothers me. Even if the masterminds behind the tech are Google, Apple; geniuses.

The psychology of attachment to the digital as well as an individual’s “digital identity” definitely comes into play here. So perplexing, and in constant flux.