Blio

Club AppleVis Member

Category: 

Description of App: 

Download Blio, a FREE app for iPhone and iPad that will have you reading eBooks as never before. Blio is smart. Smart enough to know that books are more than just words: there’s style, presentation, and a world of color. And smart enough to know all of that enhances your reading experience. That’s what you love about books. So books in Blio have the same layout, fonts, and full-color images that you enjoy in the print version of your favorite titles. Finally there’s an eBook reader that brings not only novels but cookbooks, travel guides, how-to manuals, textbooks, and children’s books to life. But eBooks are intended to be different… that’s why they put that little “e” in front of “book”. eBooks should do more: they should leverage everything that the device you’re reading on is capable of. Blio does just that. Many books can read aloud by a text-to-speech voice (purchase required) or audiobook, with words highlighted as they are spoken. You can look up words you might not be familiar with or get more information on a topic by searching Google, Wikipedia, and more without ever leaving your book. Reading eBooks should be enjoyable and easy, no matter where you are, and no matter what device you’re reading on. So Blio offers ReadLogic, a feature that knows to automatically zoom and navigate to the next logical place for you to read, whether it’s the next paragraph, a caption, or a sidebar. Then there’s the Blio Bookvault, a virtual library that you can access from anywhere. So you can read a book on any of your devices. Blio lets you choose which way to view a book, including single page, dual page, flowed view, or speed reading view, all kept in sync as you read the book. You can go to the next page by tapping or swiping, with a three-dimensional effect that will astound you.Because eBooks should be for everybody, Blio is. Synchronized highlighting of words and a serial presentation view can assist those with reading disabilities. With iOS 5.0, Blio empowers the visually impaired to do anything that fully sighted users can do, including reading in any of the available views.You can download books you've bought from the Blio Bookstore, where you’ll find the latest titles from over a hundred top publishers. You can add as many free books as you like, in EPUB, PDF, or XPS formats, via iTunes or the web.Try a whole new eBook experience with Blio, where books are more than words. Top Features:

  • Displays books in full color, with fonts, pictures, and layout as the publisher intended.
  • Support for the visually impaired and those with reading disabilities.
  • Sync up to five devices so your books can go wherever you go.
  • Access all of your content, and download it to your device from anywhere you have an internet connection. 
  • Block navigation mode intelligently zooms to the next logical text block to simplify reading, even on small devices.
  • Multiple reading views, including fixed layout view, single page, dual page, flowed view, or fast reading view*, all kept in sync as you read the book.
  • Add notes and highlights to a page, with five color options, saved across your reading sessions.
  • Look up phrases or topics in the included browser, without ever leaving the context of your book 
  • Have Blio read to you, highlighting each word as it does.**
  • Add free books in PDF, EPUB, or XPS format from iTunes or Safari.

Requirements:

  • iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod Touch 3rd or 4th generation
  • iOS 4.0 or higher, iOS 5.0 recommended
  • iOS 3.2 no longer supported

* iPhone only** for audiobooks, or rights-enabled books when TTS voice is purchased.

Apple Watch Support: 

Not Known

Version: 

3.3

Free or Paid: 

Free

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone
iPad
iPad

Accessibility Comments: 

There are built in instructions on using Voice Over and easy to understand instructions on how to start reading and returning to the library screen.

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling: 

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments: 

Blio from KNFB Reading technology is a fully accessible eBook reading app. This is by far my favorite reading app. However several notes are necessary. First you can not share books between devices unless you purchased them from the Blio store. The reason is you can't add books from other sources to the online archive. On the i-devices you can import books in epub, pdf and xps format and they work well. However the import must be through iTunes in a two stage process. First you import inside iTunes then on your device you use the get book option in Blio and then use the import function to see what you added from iTunes. You are not protected from adding a book more than once from iTunes but Blio won't let you import a duplicate using the import function. You then have to remove the book from the import folder on the i-device. More frustrating is the fact that the Windows based version of Blio can't import books and only sees books in your archive so you can't see your library and sync with it cross-platform. Blio reads well with Voice Over but has the same problem that iBooks does with the momentary pause during a page change. On the iPhone and iPod this means with smaller page sizes you get more frequent pauses. Using the in-app purchase of accapela voices and then playing the book results in a smoother reading experience. The choice of voices are limited to only a few English voices. It would be nice to see the UK English and other languages available to the in-app purchase options. The voices are $9.99. In-app purchase of the voices transfers to your other devices but you have to go completely through the purchase process to download them again since they don't load with the iTunes sync. Blio is not a daisy reader but for pleasure reading I think it is by far the easiest to use. The biggest complaint is the method of locating books in your library. If you have several hundred titles it is hard to locate the book you want. You can set sort options but you still have to move through many titles to find the one you want. One other note. The cost of the books from the Blio store is not as low as from other online stores so in general I use Fictionwise or other vendors and just import the epub versions.