Archive for year 2008

How do we reach the most people?

Sometimes a product is popular because of the hype (see the Apple iPhone). Sometimes a product appears to be popular because of its features (see the Palm Treo and several Windows Mobile phones). But to really know if something is popular, you need to see the numbers in use. And the numbers might be a surprise.

Check out this brief article by Palm Addicts. According to the numbers, Nokia phones way outsell all other phones combined and Blackberry has seen huge growth in the number of units sold. Many Nokia phones run the Symbian operating system (OS) and BlackBerry phones obviously run the BlackBerry OS – both of which Olive Tree supports.  The versions we have right now on both those platforms are very limited in what they can do. But that is going to change.  Olive Tree is working on BibleReader 4, which is a new build from the ground up and which will provide more features for all platforms we support.  Early in Olive Tree’s history, Palm and Windows Mobile were the platforms we worked hardest on.  But if we want the Bible to be in more hands, we need to target the platforms with more people using them. That is why our first beta of BibleReader 4 is out for BlackBerry.

We also know there has been a lot of buzz around the iPhone and its newly-available third party applications – so we have targeted this platform too – check out what we have so far at Olive Tree’s iPhone webpage.

But we haven’t forgot our roots.  BibleReader 4 will be available for all major mobile platforms.  This will take time.  We feel a little like David coming up to Goliath – we are a small company bringing a product to a Goliath of a market!  So be patient with us.  We believe we have the best Bible product for mobile devices out on the market!

 ~Mike B.

Free and Early Release Products for Bloggers

Are you a blogger?  Would you like free and/or early release products from Olive Tree?  We are looking for bloggers who would like to write about the BibleReader.  We will give you free and early release products in exchange for you writting about them.  You can say what ever you want about the products, good or bad.  We only ask that you write at least 200 words.

Right now we are looking for bloggers to write about our new BlackBerry BibleReader beta and our new iPhone beta.  If you are a windows mobile, Palm, or Symbian user you time will come (patience is a virture) :)

If you are interested please email with a link to your blog and the device you have.  If you are a BlackBerry user can you let me know what product(s) you would like to write about.  If you are an iPhone user we have just one beta with a lot of Bibles and books in it.


The wait is over – BibleReader is now available on the iPhone :)

Olive Tree’s BibleReader for the iPhone is now available on Apple’s App Store!!  There are two bundles you can choose from.

This version has a three tap verse chooser, continuous scrolling, and the books are store locally on your iPhone so that you don’t need an internet connection to read them.

For more information see our iPhone web page.

iPhone ESV Mat 5

We are currently working on content management issues.  For more information on this you can see the discussion in our forums

BibleReader Beta Release for BlackBerry with Storage Card

Olive Tree has been hard at work on a new version of our BibleReader, now available as a beta release for BlackBerry with storage card. This version, 4.0, uses a new architecture that will provide the same features across all our supported platforms. That means that instead of having lots of features available on the Palm and fewer on the BlackBerry, the different platforms will be more consistent. That’s good news for BlackBerry users. As developers, we will be able to spend more time developing cool features instead of dealing with boring platform-specific differences.

Our alpha testers have been enthusiastic about the features in this new version. The verse chooser (pictured below) makes it quick and easy to get to a new verse–much faster than the old scrolling list of books. Our new library display lets you view the contents of your library at a glance. The font and color options let you customize the look of the text for easier reading. The history feature allows you to backtrack through the verses you have been reading. Storing Bibles on the storage card frees up memory on the device.

In order to use this new beta release, you must have a BlackBerry with storage card. Go to our BlackBerry beta page to download the reader directly to your device.

Coming soon will be table of contents for eBooks, publisher’s notes, faster searching, and lots, lots more.

At Olive Tree we are excited about this new release, and we think you will be, too.

~Kathy S.

Kathy Stevens works for Olive Tree Bible Software as a software engineer. She lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her husband and two children.

Newest Display Technology for Biblical Languages

On June 16-18, I attended the conference “The Bible and Computers: Present and Future of a Discipline” in the suburbs of Madrid, Spain. At this conference, a group of people from many different nations interested in the intersection between Biblical studies and computer technology gathered together to hear presentations on current research. Most of those present were university professors.

There were three types of talks presented. The first group involved research that academics are doing that produce databases that will eventually be—if they have not already been—incorporated into Bible software packages. It was exciting for me to hear some of what is on the horizon. For example, I am interested in Hebrew syntax, so I enjoyed listening to presentations by representatives of two different groups that have been working on syntactically tagging the entire Old Testament. The second group of talks revolved around the progress and state of existing Bible software packages. I got to hear about the latest bells and whistles on a variety of Bible software programs. Finally, the third group focused on the results of using Bible software packages, from successful strategies for teaching Hebrew and Greek more effectively with the use of Bible software to the results of research enabled by Bible software. It was gratifying to hear how Bible software is helping professors in their teaching and research of the Bible.

I presented a talk at the conference entitled “Displaying Hebrew and Aramaic on Handheld Devices That Lack Proper Complex Script Support.” In my talk, I set the stage by discussing the way in which complex script technology has improved on personal computers in recent years, but these improvements have not yet been extended to mobile devices. I then discussed some possible strategies for overcoming these limitations on mobile devices, giving the positives and negatives of each approach. Finally, I discussed the approach we at Olive Tree took in successfully overcoming these obstacles—to my knowledge producing the first aesthetically pleasing Hebrew and Aramaic texts with all the desired vowels, cantillation marks, and symbols on mobile devices. My talk was warmly received by the audience of scholars. I supplemented my presentation’s screenshots by showing off BibleReader’s Hebrew and Aramaic display to many of the conference’s participants on an actual Windows Mobile device.

Here is a list of our products that use this innovative display technology: BHS, BHS Add-On – Groves-Wheeler Westminster Hebrew Morphology, and Qumran (non-biblical texts). You can see my previous blog posts about it here, here, and here.

~Drayton B.

Fun at the Spokane Lilac Bloomsday Run

Recently Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, ran the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville, TN, and encouraged other Thomas Nelson employees to join him.

Inspired by Michael’s half-marathon race, I and a few local friends decided to sign up for the Lilac Bloomsday Run, a 7.46 mile (12 K) road race that attracts approximately 50,000 runners and walkers each year. An added bonus is that Bloomsday is right in Olive Tree’s hometown of Spokane, Washington, so I didn’t have to travel to get there. On Sunday, May 4th, the day of the race, it was sunny and cool. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather for running, walking, and just being outside.

The picture below shows me crossing the finish line—with hundreds of my fellow Bloomsday racers. Right after this, we received the much-coveted Bloomsday T-shirt, awarded to every person who finishes the race, and worn proudly by many people around town the Monday after.

Michael finished his 17-mile half-marathon in about 2 hours. I finished Bloomsday’s 7.46 mile course in just over 2 hours. Looks like I have some training to do before next year’s race if I want to keep up!

Even so, running the race was a wonderful experience to get me out of my trench. I enjoyed the sunshine, soaked in the beauty of God’s creation (especially where the race course crosses the Spokane River), and enjoyed the excitement of participating in Spokane’s largest civic event.

Bloomsday Finish Line

Drew, talking a day off from Olive Tree, ran with 50,000 other runners (and walkers) in the Lilac Bloomsday Run, an annual Spokane event.

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