Oct 4, 2010

Blio - Raising the stakes in e-reading apps

Over six months ago I signed up to a mailing list for a company that was going to release an e-reading application that promised to kick the competition out of the park.

Time wore on and the memory of the promised software faded away, I assumed that it had gone the way of a thousand other pieces of vapourware.

Enter Blio
Blio is an e-reading application available for windows pc's.  Though there are apps in the works for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. At the moment there's only a North American release - meaning that the rest of the world can download the application and read free e-books, but will have to wait if you want to purchase new books.

The Features

  • 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 like
The interface is smooth, easily superior to  Kindle for PC, and Adobe Digital editions.  The note taking functions that incorporate, image and links, search thesauruses from within in the app, makes me think that this could become the got to app for reading and reviewing on the laptop.  The automatic text to speech function was interesting (it kept mispronouncing wind ), not sure if I like being read to by Stephen Hawking.

Well aside from being locked out of purchasing and preferring to read e-ink, not many.  I did find it odd that there didn't appear to be a function for searching within books. 

Edit:  Nathan at the eBook Reader has picked up some other drawbacks that are worth considering.

Has potential, perhaps as an app for the Ipad and used in an educational setting.  It will be interesting to see if there will be publishers who will take advantage of some of its more advanced multimedia features.

E-book adventures is my weekly series post outlining my exploration of the e-book format. See other posts here and join in the discussion.


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