If you were just thinking “Hmm…there’s not nearly enough ebook formats right now. I would be thrilled if yet another new standard came along to confuse things further…”, good news! Ray Kurzweil’s Blio format is apparently more than just a CES 2010 demo. Engadget is reporting that Blio will have a PC application out September 28th, with Android and iOS coming soon too!
Excuse me while I yawn…I’m skeptical for a few reasons about Blio. One, video/interactive ebooks have taken off somewhat in app form, but not really as a standalone concept. Vook hasn’t really made a dent in the ebook marketplace, and while iBooks (and Kindle for iPad/iPhone) can handle video and text, there are very few books taking advantage of these features. A pretty face is nice, but it can only take Blio so far…and without any big bookstores backing them it’s going to be an uphill battle.
Now, to be fair Blio may catch lightning in a bottle here. If they can manage to get the experience down on a smartphone, that will definitely boost their potential traction. And if the Android tablet army emerges with Blio as a partner with some of the hardware companies, that’s definitely a positive. However, until anything solid emerges, I’m putting Blio solidly in the “interesting, but I’m not betting the farm on them” category.
What are your thoughts on Blio? Excited, curious, confused? Share in the comments!
BLIO TO REVOLUTIONIZE DIGITAL READING EXPERIENCE, LAUNCHES SEPTEMBER 28
Through partnership with Baker & Taylor, Blio to feature full-color and interactive, rich digital media content and today’s best-sellers
WELLSELEY HILLS, Mass. (Sept. 15, 2010) – K-NFB Reading Technology, creator and developer of Blio, today announced that the world’s most advanced, flexible and engaging e-reader application, will be available for download beginning September 28 at www.blioreader.com. Blio, which is free to download, will be available immediately for all Windows-based devices, with applications for iOS and Android operating systems following soon after. In the coming months, Blio will be rolled out worldwide through device manufacturers, retailers, mobile carriers and educational institutions, and supported by fully-customized digital media storefronts. The first of these partnerships will be announced in the next few weeks.
“Readers are demanding more flexibility and functionality in their digital reading experiences,” said Ray Kurzweil, voice-recognition inventor and founder of K-NFB Reading Technology. “The Blio software offers an unparalleled experience, with full-color, interactive capabilities like no other device on the market.”
Blio promises to revolutionize the digital reading experience with full-color, interactive and immersive content. Blio is perfect for today’s on-the-go consumers who increasingly rely on digital content for work, leisure and learning. Blio goes where readers go – at home, in the car, at the airport, almost anywhere – and works across mobile devices, laptops, netbooks, tablets and home computers.
Through its partnership with Baker & Taylor, the world’s largest distributor of print and digital books, Blio will offer today’s best-sellers as well as rich media content that’s simply not available on e-ink e-readers. Baker & Taylor has signed over one hundred publishers onto Blio.
“We are thrilled that through our partnership with K-KNB we are delivering to the marketplace a pre-eminent, full-color e-reading experience,” said Tom Morgan, Chairman and CEO of Baker & Taylor. “Blio truly raises the bar in the e-reading market.”
With many titles in full color, Blio delivers a large selection of books that can’t translate onto e-ink devices. Blio brings to life full categories of content like children’s books, lifestyle books such as travel and cookbooks, textbooks and more. With Blio, these books uniquely come alive on a multitude of devices.
“We are bringing exciting new digital content to market and translating entire categories of content into full-color, interactive reading experiences,” said Bob Nelson, President of Baker & Taylor’s Digital Group. “With Blio, we are revolutionizing the way book lovers will engage with e-books.”
Blio has a host of functions that make it smart, fun and easy to use. Highlights include:
• Blio mimics a book’s printed format like no other e-reader, with files presented in XPS format, which allows digital books to stay true to their original print version. Blio also supports ePub formatted books.
• Blio is powered by the most advanced text-to-speech technology, allowing readers to use books hands-free.
• Blio’s full-media functionality allows users to insert notes into their digital pages, highlight sections and even customize the look of their personal libraries. Users can reference words via numerous websites without leaving their e-book.
• Downloaded Blio titles are stored in a personal virtual library, enabling flexible access to content. This library can be accessed easily from numerous devices, allowing users to begin reading their book on a home PC, then pick up where they left off on a netbook, laptop or other mobile device.
Connect with Blio and Baker & Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/Blioreader and twitter.com/BakerandTaylor.
About K-NFB Reading Technology Inc.
A joint venture between Kurzweil Technology and the National Federation of the Blind, K-NFB Reading Technology Inc. has propelled reading technology forward for the last 30 years through the invention of omnifont OCR, flatbed scanners, text-to-speech technology and reading machines for the blind. K-NFB once again is redefining the boundaries of the printed word through Blio, which promises to set the standard for digital reading. This free application works across platforms and presents books as they were intended – in full color and as laid out by the publisher. K-NFB is headed by CEO Ray Kurzweil, a 30-year innovator and pioneer in assistive technologies. The National Federation of the Blind is the largest, most influential membership organization of blind people in the United States.
About Baker & Taylor Inc.
Baker & Taylor, Inc. (www.baker-taylor.com) is the world’s largest aggregator and distributor of books, digital content and entertainment products. The company leverages its unsurpassed worldwide distribution network to deliver rich content in multiple formats, anytime and anywhere. Baker & Taylor offers cutting-edge digital media services and innovative technology platforms to thousands of publishers, libraries and retailers worldwide. Baker & Taylor also offers industry-leading customized library services and retail merchandising solutions. Baker & Taylor is proud to power Blio (blioreader.com), the world’s most flexible, engaging and revolutionary e-reading application. Charlotte, N.C.-based Baker & Taylor is majority owned by Castle Harlan Partners IV, L.P., an institutional private equity fund managed by Castle Harlan, Inc., a leading private equity investment firm.
Baker & Taylor and the Baker & Taylor logo are trademarks of Baker & Taylor, Inc. Blio is a trademark of K-NFB Reading Technology Inc. Other company and product names mentioned for identification purposes may be trademarks of their respective owners.