Yesterday we released the first public beta version of BibleReader 4.5 for Android. This is a huge step forward, and we are very excited about the beta, the reception we have received and our upcoming Market release. While we don’t have the rest of our usual documentation or support behind this, I wanted to take a few minutes and post some of the highlights in this release.

First, you can’t help but see the great new User Interface. I love the new look and feel! It brings the familiar and usable iOS interface, and adds in a number of small changes that make it fit very well into the Android platform. If you tap on the main window, you will get the main tools laying over the top of your window, where you can find the Library button, that changes the book you are reading, the Go To button, that changes your location in the current book, and on the right are the Search, History and Ribbon buttons. You can also get to Search through the hardware search button if your device allows.

If you have never used the iOS versions of BibleReader, you may miss the split window divider at the bottom of the window. Just grab the two little horizontal lines at the bottom (they will turn blue when you have them) and drag upwards. Personally, I think this is the biggest jump forward in the new version, as it allows you to have a Bible and commentary open at the same time, or perhaps the Strong’s definition of the word you tapped in a Strong’s Bible in the main window. Don’t forget that we have the KJV Strong’s Bible available on the Android Marketplace for only $5.99 (https://market.android.com/details?id=kjvs.biblereader.olivetree). The Split Window is a huge jump forward for Bible reading on Android, and one of the primary things that sets this new version apart.

We have added highlights and ribbons to our already existing bookmarks and notes feature set. Collectively, the annotation system is a big new addition too. Ribbons are a new feature, recently introduced in BibleReader 5 for iOS, that basically serve the same purpose as the ribbon in your paper Bible. It’s a transient bookmark that can be added by just tapping the icon, and then removed just as easily by tapping it again. Where it’s better than a physical ribbon is that you can add lots. If your small group is working through one passage, your devotionals another and your church sermons yet another, you can have a ribbon for each one. You can always get to your ribbons (and all your annotations) through the My Stuff button in the main menu. To add highlights, bookmarks or your own notes, just tap the verse number, and choose the one you want. We do not have an ability at this time to select individual words, or multiple verses. Both of these features are on our list, and we’re working as fast as we can!

Also coming to the My Stuff screen is the Sync and Backup feature. You will be able to create a note (or bookmark, highlight or ribbon) on your Android phone, and synchronize it to our server, https://sync.olivetree.com and then pull it down onto your Xoom, iPad, iPhone or whatever other device you may have. We’re really excited about this, and it is coming in 4.5. It’s not in the public beta because of a last minute bug, but we’ll add it in soon again.

There’s so much more I could go on about, but I should probably get back to programming… those features and bug fixes aren’t going to program themselves. :-) If you have feedback or bug reports, please send them to androidbeta@olivetree.com, or use the Feedback button in the menu in-app. Just remember, the more info you give us, the better we can reproduce what you’re seeing.

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