The Blio reading app was finally available for download today, and I got it as soon as I could. I was really looking forward to this; the demos were impressive. The faux 3D mode looked interesting, the TTS sounded good, and there were hints that even better features would be coming.
Given how wonderfulness of the demo, I’m a little surprised at how awful my reading experience was.
The TTS was horrifyingly bad. I was slapping at my keyboard (trying to turn off the sound), it was so bad. Think bad 19080′s SF movie, and you begin to appreciate the sound. What’s even worse is that TTS on the Kindle was so much better! That should not have been possible; my laptop has significantly better hardware specs than the Kindle.
The faux 3D mode was also pretty bad, and I really don’t understand why. The edges of the faux page were jagged. (Check out the screen shot.) This shouldn’t have been hard; writing software for this kind of perspective is a homework assignment for college juniors, now.
There are a number of other viewing modes (single & double column, double paged, etc) but they’re really nothing more than you can find elsewhere. I’ll skip them here.
Actually, I want to point out the double page mode. This mode rises to the point of FAIL. You see, I was reading a book I downloaded from Feedbooks. It started out as Epub, and in converting it to Blio format it became some horrifying mutant PDF format.
When I zoomed in in the double page mode, text disappeared off the bottom and top of the screen. I would expect this with a PDF, but I stared with an Epub. It really should have reflowed the text, not made it disappear.
Speaking of Feedbooks, it was one of the 2 sources of free ebooks (along with Google). Thing is, they forgot to tell Feedbooks:
Hey Blio, next time that you add our OPDS catalog to a commercial product, send us an e-mail first
Hadrien also had this to say about Blio:
Oh and I don’t care about 3D view of a book if the font looks like s**t
And one last point before I go. One of the features we were promised was Epub support. I remember this quite clearly. Unfortunately, Blio won’t open an Epub file, so I can’t read any of my current library. Do they really expect me to buy my existing library a second time? Given that there are only about 6k titles in the Blio ebookstore, I really have to wonder what they were thinking.
P.S. And if you think I’m pissed, you should check out what Mike Cane wrote.