Helicon Books Claims First E-Reader for Android With Full EPUB3 Support

Israeli ebook production house Helicon Books has launched an ebook reader for Android devices that fully supports the EPUB3 programming language for ebooks, the company said in an announcement today. It claims to be the first of its kind.

Among major ebook sellers, only Apple is known to support many of the features of EPUB3, according to the Book Industry Study Group, which tracks such things. Earlier this year, Digital Book World reported that Kobo intends to fully support EPUB3 by the third-quarter next year.

Helicon, in addition to launching an ebook reader, is an ebook production house, specializing in EPUB3. The company also produces ebook marketing technology.

[Press Release]

Helicon books reader, the first Android reader to fully support all EPUB3 features and more.

Helicon books markets the first fully compliant EPUB3 reader for the Andorid operating system.

The reader developed by Helicon books development partner Creatve studios, is the first reader to fully support all EPUB3 features and more.

People today expect more and more Multimedia in the Internet and in Digital books.
The IDPF has responded to this with the EPUB3 standard published in 2011.

However, although the new standard is a year old, most readers applications are are still EPUB2 compatible, some of them with some extensions to support the new capabilities of the new standard.

Some people claim there is no need for all these advanced features. We think the world is advancing to reacher content and readers expect their digital books to also contain reach content.

We can parallel this to the development of the World Wide Web (WWW) the first versions of web sites contained only texts and images (many still do) but new W3C standards have enabled web designers to deliver reacher content and today users expect web sites to contain rich contents with animation, videos, sometimes sound etc.

The EPUB3 standard by the IDPF has added and standardized the following features:

Scaleable Vector Graphics (SVG) – a vectorized graphic format that enables resizing of images without loss of quality
Interactive SVG – Similar to SVG but interactive that enables the user to click part of the image and see it moves or zoom
MathML – A markup language (based on XML) for rendering mathematical formulas
JavaScript – A programming language that enables developers add interactivity to websites or digital book pages
Support for Complex text layout languages – Language such as Hebrew or Arabic that are written from right to left. (the previous standard had partial support for these languages, the new standard fully support these languages including page progression direction)
Support for top to bottom languages – Languages such as Chinese or Japanese written from top to bottom are now fully supported
Fixed layout pages (mainly for children books and/or comic books)
Media Overlay (speak aloud as it is called by Apple) – A features adding a layer of audio on top of text or images, that the reader hightlights the words (or images) the audio is talking about, uses a special markup language (SMIL)
Support for video inside pages

The new standard uses HTML5 and CSS3 for pages and thus includes many design features such as round corners opacity, CSS animation etc.

Non of the EPUB readers we know of today, supports all these features. Helicon books reader supports all the above features and more. It also supports more advanced features such as interactive 3d images that can be rotated in order to view the object from different directions.

The reader is available for white labels licensing and customer specific customization.

White label licensing means that you get the reader with your own logo and no mention of Helicon books.

Customer specific customization means that you can hire us to modify the reader to your specific needs. We will seat with you to define your specific requirements, then issue a quotation for your specific customization so you get an application that fully suites your needs.

The reader currently support Android platform only but will soon support also iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod etc.)
About Helicon books

Helicon books was established by Ori Idan as a subsidiary of Helicon Technologies LTD. Helicon books is developing and marketing software for the digital book market and works to advance the EPUB digital book standard. Helicon books is a member of the IDPF (industry consortium responsible for the EPUB standard)
Helicon books also creates EPUB books of all kinds, especially books using the advanced features of EPUB3

3 thoughts on “Helicon Books Claims First E-Reader for Android With Full EPUB3 Support

  1. Matt Steele

    Simple question: ‘says who?’ Exactly to what extent does Helicon’s product ‘fully support’ epub3? The IDPF have a sub committee whose responsibility it is to come up with a benchmark for this kind of product, which is overdue, I believe. Are Helicon saying that any epub3 package, regardless of what that may contain (within the epub3 standard), will render in the Helicon reader as the author intended? To what extent does it support Javascript, for example? Or is it like iBooks, that only supports a subset? If Helicon are right, and they are really claiming that their reader supports epub3 in the same sense that Firefox, say, supports HTML 4.0, then that’s terrific, but let’s see the evidence!

  2. Brian

    How many technology “wakeup calls” do most of us have to admit that we’ve missed in our lifetimes?

    This is a wakeup call. Hit the snooze button at your own peril. Even fiction in the (very) immediate future will no longer be merely a matter of formatting chapters and pages filled with words, and rich media will be demanded by readers regardless of what they are reading.

    What we are seeing here is no less cataclysmic than the printing press, and even more so than the transition from Web 1 to Web 2. It is the complete obliteration of any distinctions between experiences that are delivered by text and those that are delivered by every form of not only media, but the connectivity of media, that EPUB3 makes possible.

    Do not underestimate what is happening here.

  3. Michael W. Perry

    This is a good move. I’d love to see an app integrated with Smashwords, perhaps the leading venue for independent authors. And keep in mind that Kindles and iBooks have accustomed users to easy downloads.Clumsy file transfers via USB cables won’t interest them.

    But of far greater value would be a full-featured EPUB 3.0 compliant editor. In InDesign CS 6, I can export ebooks as EPUB 3, but once created, there’s no way to tweak them without digging deeply into HTML-like code. That, a lot of us don’t want to do.

    And it’s also true that such an editor needs to be smart enough to deal with the current proprietary format issues created by Amazon and Apple. I’m working on creating an ebook version of Untangling Tolkien, my day-by-day Lord of the Rings chronology. As is, InDesign will turn the footnotes that point to where in Tolkien’s writings an event takes described into clumsy, go-there, come-back endnotes. I’d much rather the iPad version had pop-up notes. Currently, I’m betting that, by the time the ebook is done, InDesign will have an option to export what are to it footnotes as iBooks pop-up notes. Absent that, I’d be delighted to have an EPUB editor that could do the conversion.

    In short, I hope Helicon isn’t forgetting the other end of the market–the creation of attractive ebooks. It is getting better, but it’s still quite frustrating.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments



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