The other day I was out with a good friend who is a photographer and happens to be a <gasp> iPhone user. He was showing me some of his latest work using the Camera Roll on his device. I must say I was impressed with the ease of use. The ability to just load up his photos and scroll through was awesome. It made me a bit jealous of the "sharing ability" of my photos on my 8330. Thus set into motion my pursuit of a better media viewer for my Curve. I searched a bit but couldn't really find too much in the way of 3rd party apps, but my quest was not over. Then, to my excitement, the good ol' Crackberry Software Roundup came to the rescue. There was SwooshPhotos - just what I had been waiting for. The OTA install was quick and painless. I fired up the app and got right into it.
The Official Word
Here's the official line on SwooshPhotos:
Swoosh through your favourite snapshots with SwooshPhotos. SwooshPhotos searches your device for all your images so you do not have to. You can create albums, zoom in and pan around photos, and watch slide shows with a variety of different transition effects. Features:
Automatically finds all your photos.
Simple Swoosh interface.
6 thumbnail sizes.
Order on date or number of views.
Zoom in and pan around photos.
Different slide show effects.
Control slide show speed.
Choose slide show order.
Option to loop slide show when charging.
Organize you photos into albums.
Add photos to multiple albums.
Handy keyboard shortcuts.
When starting up, SwooshPhotos will load up all the images you have stored on your device or media card. They are all laid out on the main screen in one large group. The options from here are slim - you have the ability to create, rename or delete albums and also have options to view your photos.
The first thing I noticed was the amount of time it took for SwooshPhotos to load my thumbnails on the main screen. I have a good amount of photos, but they are all 320x240 images so in my opinion they should load much quicker than they did. (On a side note, I had images that were at a much larger resolution and the program actually hung my device for quite a while trying to load them). Regardless, I took the quick steps to create an album from my recent vacation.
A few quick clicks and I was done. Now by going through my photos (one by one, which can be time consuming depending on how many photos you have) I added my new pictures to my album.
When I was done, I could view the album with my newly added pictures (again, the load time for the thumbnails seemed longer than it should be). From inside the album, you have the ability to view the photos individually by clicking on them (at which point they take about 4 seconds to load), or by the Slide View (which is what I was after). I anxiously entered the Slide view.
From here the photos will scroll automatically at about a 7 second interval. You have the option to use the Space key to play and pause the show. You are also able to scroll through the photos Camera Roll style with the trackball, but this quickly wears thin, as you painfully have to wait for each image to load when moving through the gallery. This was by far a huge disappointment for me. I am by no means a programmer or familiar with the way any BlackBerry software works, but it seems to me there must be a way to pre-load or cache both the full images and thumbnails in order to make the browsing much smoother. I could understand the lag time the first time I added the photos or viewed an album, but not everytime I tried to use the slideshow. Could be this app would fare better on a Bold than my Curve.
I love the way I can organize my photos with SwooshPhotos. It makes my media much more manageable and keeps everything in a happy place so I'm not stuck viewing my wallpapers intermingled with pictures of my family. However, there are many options that I feel should have been included that just aren't there. To start, the ability to "hide" photos from the application would come in handy. I don't really need to have all my wallpapers in any gallery for viewing. I'd love to just hide them without totally removing them from my device. I'd also like to be able to add multiple photos or folders to an album at one time as opposed to having to add 20 or 30 images one by one. Maybe being able to specify folders for SwooshPhotos to find would solve both these problems at once. Also a mildly esthetic gripe would be to add icons or thumbnails to the gallery icons instead of just the plain blue.
Overall I think SwooshPhotos has a ton of potential. As I said, I was very excited to have it on my device and would have had no problem purchasing it. However as it stands, it just doesn't quite make it in its current state. I can get past the lack of options, but the load times for both thumbnails and full images is just too much to overlook. I wanted to use this as a way to show off my photos quickly and easily, but having to wait for each image to load for sometimes over 5 seconds just doesn't get the job done. The price tag rings too high for an app with such lacking features, but as I said before, I have no problem buying it if the load times can be fixed.
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