Amongst all of the fanfare of new mobile OCR solutions, HandyTech has launched a new desktop OCR product. iRead competes in a marketplace which already includes OpenBook, Kurzweil 1000, and Serotek's Document Scan not including mainstream solutions. The initial press release touts its simple, one-button scanning process, ability to automatically recognize headings and create a table of contents, and support for several image formats including .PDF. Unlike Openbook and K1000, it is not self-voicing, though there are, of course, free screen reading options available if this is an issue.
Available now, iRead costs $750 and a 30-day trial is available. Does iRead bring anything new to the table? Why not download their 30-day trial and post your reactions in the comments.
I don't like the price point for this new OCR product. For just a couple of hundred dollars more, you can get a full-featured desktop OCR solution in K1000 that doesn't even require a screen reader. A $250 to $300 price tag would be more reasonable for the feature set being offered. As things stand now, even before reviewing the 30-day trial, I can confidently say I couldn't recommend this product in light of better options.
Jeff.young Friday, 22-Jan-2010 10:32 AM ET:
I like how the webpage says it's affordable, and then it says it'll cost $750. If your main market is voke rehab then maybe $750 is affordable.
Wolfy Friday, 22-Jan-2010 2:07 PM ET:
Uhm over 700 bucks? Oh geesh let me go pay 500 bucks and get the NFB reader since I know where I can get on that cheap, and oh lets not forget That most scanners comes with the OCR to do what you need if you check out for the softeware that it comes with. Just my thoughts. Now if it offered reading braille, handwriting, and screen capture on the pc that would be a bonus.
icedearth Friday, 22-Jan-2010 2:44 PM ET:
While we all are able to see the negatives of any product or situation, it's sometimes more of a challenge to see the positives. Whereas this is the first version of iRead, I would submit that everyone who has posted negative comments thus far has not downloaded a trial of the software and submitted positive suggestions to the development team. It's a no brainer to think negatively, everyone. I tend to feel that the blind community as a whole, at least the individuals I know, thrive on challenges and can think critically. Just my two cents worth. Now I wonder who will go and turn it in to a dollar.
darknexus Friday, 22-Jan-2010 6:11 PM ET:
Maybe I'm the oddball out, but I've always been satisfied with the off-the-shelf solutions. FineReader, in particular, has been my OCR program of choice over any of the blindness programs for many years for OCR quality, and it's a fraction of the cost of any of these specialized products. I just don't understand it, never have, and probably never will.
darknexus Friday, 22-Jan-2010 6:13 PM ET:
@Jeff.young: Their main market most likely *is* rehab. Who else is insane enough to pay these kinds of prices?
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.