Bring the Web’s images with you
In an attempt to tidy the mess that is the World Wide Web's image collection, Open Door Networks Inc. has ported its photo amalgamation software to the iPhone. Cleverly (or not so cleverly) named iEnvision, the application grabs images from various Web sites and presents them in an interface that closely resembles the device's native photo application. Speed, price and several functionality flaws prevent iEnvision from being a must-have iPhone application.
- Nice interface, easy to use
- Lack of configuration options, slow loading times, no iPhone optimisation
Leaving aside its cost, this iPhone app shows plenty of promise but fails to deliver in important areas, including speed and optimisation for the iPhone.
Price$ 12.99 (AUD)
iEnvision works by gathering photos from multiple Web sites and then organising them based on topics and unique identifiers such as author and location. Users choose a general topic such as Art or Newspaper Front Pages and then a subtopic in order to view a slideshow of the gathered images. Slideshows are automatic, although the user can interrupt at any time by simply swiping to the next photo. A small icon on the control panel at the bottom redirects the user to an image's site of origin in Safari.
The application is extremely simple to use, but herein lies one of its problems: there are very few options to configure. Slideshow timing is automated, and the only possible options in the application are the ability to delete image groups or sub-groups. Groups can only be created or modified using Open Door Networks' Mac or PC-based Envision software.
iEnvision takes advantages of the iPhone's sensors. The application will respond to the iPhone's accelerometer, switching between landscape and portrait modes. Multi-touch photo manipulation is also available, allowing users to pinch and zoom into pictures when desired. Flicking a finger right to left also transitions photos, although the way the application loads them detracts from the smoothness of this action.
There is no iPhone optimisation apparent in the application, meaning that images are often pixelated on the iPhone's 320x480 pixel resolution screen.
Image loading can also be a pain. The iPhone Facebook application loads a low-resolution image that is subsequently replaced by a higher-resolution version, which allows for quicker loading times. iEnvision will attempt to load a full resolution picture before displaying it, often making users wait and decreasing the application's ability to smoothly transition between photos.
Like many other iPhone Apps, speed is a key problem. Using the iPhone over a Wi-Fi network connected to ADSL2+ broadband, iEnvision took anywhere from four to 37 seconds to load the first photo in a group, with a subsequent four to five seconds required for each image to load. Optimisation could have heavily decreased this wait time.
For what is essentially a picture-a-day application, $12.99 is simply too expensive.
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