I signed up some time ago for the release of the Blio Ebook reader. I was looking for something like the ipad book reader app but for PCs. I had heard a little about what was planned and yesterdays announcements got me interested enough to download the app and kick the tires a little.
The press release mentioned
WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (Sept. 28, 2010) – K-NFB Reading Technology, creator and developer of the Blio[TM] e-reading software, today announced the launch of Blio, the most advanced, flexible, interactive and engaging e-reading application available to consumers. The free application can be downloaded immediately to all Windows-based devices at the newly designed blio.com, with applications for iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms available soon.“Beginning today, readers of all ages will be able to enjoy a digital reading experience that truly harnesses the power of an e-reader,” said Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the flatbed scanner and character- and speech-recognition technologies, and founder of K-NFB Reading Technology. “By providing a full-color, flexible, and interactive experience, Blio redefines the boundaries of the e-book, opening up entirely new categories of multimedia content and, as a result, engaging new groups of readers of e-books.”
Which if only from the breadth of platforms anticipated seems ambitious. I used the application to download and browse some free books. The narration worked well on those that had the rights to do so. The highlighting and notation worked but I was a little surprised that notes were not indicated on the text when added but thought the addition of being able to look up items through google and other search engines – directly in the application through the included browser – was very seamless.
The main points for the app are summarised as
Blio displays books in full color, with fonts, pictures, and layout as the publisher intended. Blio lets you sync up to 5 devices so your books can go wherever you go. Blio’s BookVault lets you access all of your content, and download it to your device from anywhere you have an internet connection. ReadLogic mode intelligently zooms to the next logical text block to simplify reading even on the smallest devices. Multiple reading views, including: text only mode, single page, dual page, tiled pages, or 3D “book view” for realistic page turning. Create a personalized list of reference websites for one-touch look-up of highlighted phrases. Look up phrases or topics in the included browser, without ever leaving the context of your book Have Blio read the selected book to you, highlighting each words as it does. Insert text, image, or hyperlink notes directly into your content. These are saved, and can be exported to create lists or study materials. Full support for audio and video embedded within interactive books Supports touch interaction for touch-enabled devices
What I thought was lacking was the ability to add your own existing stock of ebooks in pdf or epub format – perhaps this is yet to come ?