CES 2010: Blio eReader is Free Software-Only Reader – Why It May Be Important

While we were inundated with hardware eReaders at CES, Blio took an intermediate step and made a (free) software eReader than can run on laptops, netbooks, desktops, tablets and even iPhones and iPods.

blio bookstoreDesigned in part by inventor Ray Kurzweil, the Blio is a free piece of software that you can download for your Windows machine, and that opens up and displays eBooks in full-color with options such as 3D page turning, text only mode for smaller displays, read aloud (text-to-speech), and note annotation. The Blio reader also supports audio, video and interactive media when embedded eBooks.

Blio will also be accompanied by the Blio Bookstore allowing you to add titles to your own virtual personal library that is accessible regardless of where you are or what device you’re on. The Blio Bookstore boasts over 1.2 million titles which they claim is more than any other eBookstore.

Blio reminds me a great deal of Zinio‘s excellent software reader for their electronic magazines.

Our Take
I think they’re onto something here, as well as multi-screen eReader manufacturers like Spring Design (Alex) and enTourage (eDGe), because want fewer devices, not more. Of course, peoples’ needs differ, so in my case when I travel I’m never without my laptop, so I would much rather my laptop be able to read eBooks. Blio fits the bill here.

On the other hand, my laptop is still a tad bit heavy and warm to hold open in bed, but I’m always wanting to surf the Web, but doing so in grayscale isn’t as satisfying which is why I feel those dual-screen readers are appealing and have potential. In the end, it does boil down to your own personal preferences, and you may still elect to walk around with both a laptop/netbook and a thin eReader.