Developer: Cooliris, Inc
Price: free Download on the App Store
Cooliris, may change the way you check out media and information on your iPhone. It’s a fresh and edgy application that allows users to search for news and photos on a 3D wall. It’s set up in two different tabs Discover and Search.
Discover, has five pre-set categories for searching news and information. You can tap on Election 08, News, Sports, Tech, and Business to see recent news in each of these categories. Flick the walls or tilt your screen to scroll through the channel. Choose an image, a picture tile pops out from the 3D wall with a headline and the first line of the story. Still interested? Click the link and be taken to the full story or email the story by clicking on the envelope in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Tap again and the headline text and envelope disappear. There is now a full screen version of the news photo on the screen. Slide the picture left or right to navigate through the stories in this category.
When browsing images only, you have to tap the search button. Again, there are five pre-set options. Google, Smugmug, Flickr, Yahoo and DeviantArt are all at the top of the screen. Tap on the image program of your choice and type in whatever you are searching for. The best thing about this area is that if you switch image programs you don’t have to retype what you’re searching for. Simply tap the button with the other image program and the photos automatically load. Navigating in this mode is pretty much the same as navigating in the “Discover” mode. Tap the picture and it pops out from the wall. You’ll get a tile of a photo and a link to transport you to its home on the web. Users also have the option of emailing a link to the photo.
Cooliris is visually amazing. The colors of the images are vibrant and rich. The 3D wall takes full advantage of the iphone's touch screen and accelerometer — pinch to zoom, tilt to navigate. The biggest shortcoming of the application is the inability to save any of the photos. It’s a pretty visually intensive image application. Without the ability to save any of the pics it’s pretty pointless to scroll through hundreds of images on your iPhone screen. Not to mention the time it takes email them to you.
The load times were also frustrating. It definitely performs better on WIFI than 3G and anything less than that is just too slow. The zoom function is also imprecise and needs to be tweaked. It's very sensitive often causing us to zoom in or out too far.
With Cooliris there is also no search video functionality. This means no YouTube, a feature that would seem like an absolute must in days of the viral video. This is a feature offered in the desktop version of CoolIris and we hopes it makes to the iPhone as well.
Overall, CoolIris is another awesome example of web technology that's been ported to the mobile phone. The app integrates naturally wit iPhone's touch and tilt features, it feels like CoolIris should have been here all along.