First Look At Blio, Ray Kurzweil’s Tablet-Friendly Ebook Format

First Look At Blio, Ray Kurzweil’s Tablet-Friendly Ebook Format

Blio, officially debuting next week at CES, lets you read your ebooks as they’re intended to look on paper. Clearly, Kurzweil is signalling his choice of tablets over e-ink, and his first shots are definitely persuasive.

With apps planned soon for the iPhone and PCs, Blio’s cross-platform functionality makes it a natural fit for something like the Apple iSlate, which along with other tablet devices should be perfect for reading cookbooks, children’s books, and any other illustrated tome. It marks a natural evolution away from the current stock of ebook readers, which are bound by the drab black and white of e-ink.

E-ink has manifold problems, but maybe the greatest of those is that it’s just for text, rendering it essentially useless for any book that requires rich illustration. Blio seems to solve that issue, while at the same time offering text-to-speech capabilities that turn your ebook into an audio book.

Blio will also likely be offering over a million books at launch. While that probably includes a lot public domain filler from Project Gutenberg and Google Books, there are at least a few best-sellers (Twilight, In Defense of Food, John Adams, etc) on the list as well. Better still, the app is going to be free.

Kurzweil has spent a lot of his time envisioning the future, with mixed degrees of success. But he’s also a highly respected inventor with a multitude of patents under his belt, meaning we should pay attention when he makes a move like this. Especially with tablets in line to potentially hit the mainstream next year, this is a product that fills a clear and present need, and fills it right now. Let’s hope it lives up to the vision.