New e-rival: Kurzweil bows Blio e-reader

October 2, 2010

This week brought the official launch of Blio, a free multiplatform, multimedia e-reader app from KNF-B Reading Technology, a company founded by futurist Ray Kurzweil, the inventor of voice-recognition, in cooperation with the Federation of the Blind.

Originating as an app to help people with impaired vision read digital content more easily, the partners are marketing Blio to mainstream consumers. Blio aims to preserve the visual format of books and magazines — including layout, type, images and colors — while also enabling an array of digital media, like online video and interactive Web.

The app allows users to make “notes” by saving additional images, video and voice content alongside digital content. Advanced text-to-speech technology developed by Kurzweil allows readers to download two lifelike voices — “Samantha” and “Tom” — for audio reading.

Blio offers users access to 1.2 million titles through a partnership with book distributor Baker & Taylor, Kurzweil said, including rich-media, video, slide-show and audio-enhanced content from top publishers such as Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. […]