When I first heard my speech synthesizer read the name of this upcoming product, I thought it was saying “the Blazie Z” and I thought “wow, Deane Blazie is coming out with a Daisy book player?” As far as I know, he isn’t but Hims is the company which gets that honor. It sounds like the new product, the Blaze EZ, is likely the next successor to the Booksense. It has all of the items you’ll find in the Booksense XT with a few additions: more built-in memory, 12 hours of battery life, WIFI for listening to online radio and … I have to admit this is kind of cool … a camera with built-in OCR software. So, your new DAISY book player can also acquire content by scanning pictures of things like restaurant menus and you can instantly read them, along with your BARD books, Word documents and Bookshare periodicals. OK, I’ll admit that’s pretty cool but I also have to say that, since I’ve gotten an iPhone, these specialized, expensive players don’t quite have the appeal with me anymore, since I can buy reading and scanning apps for a fraction of the cost on a device that does so much more than even a versatile book player. Someone who doesn’t want to pay for a monthly data plan can purchase an iPod Touch and pay less than they would for a specialized book player. Still, there will always be consumers who won’t want a device with a touchscreen and who will want something with real, actual buttons with real, actual Braille labels and consumer choice is a good thing. I’ll be interested in hearing more about this device once it ships next month but I’m at least pleased that the next generation of DAISY book players are actually more than just players but are able to acquire content as well as being able to read it. To me, that was always one of the greatest weaknesses of these players. I always felt they should be more like Kindles, able to locate and download content as well as being able to read it and protocols like DAISY Online are making this a reality.