AcidImage 3.0

by PocketGoddess on August 10, 2004

You may be wondering why I like AcidImage so much, especially considering the fact that my Tapwave Zodiac came with a photo viewing application. It’s simple, really– I don’t want my handheld or its software to get in the way any more than absolutely necessary. That means I don’t like having to wade through 100 page instruction manuals for overly complicated apps or convert my files to a special format that’s incompatible with other platforms. AcidImage seems to have been written especially for me. It’s easy to use, the controls are intuitive, it’s fast, and it reads all of my photos from their native file formats, whether that’s JPG, BMP, or GIF (the Pro version works for TIFF files as well).

When you first launch the application, AcidImage presents you with a simplified “directory” listing of where photos have been found on your device. In my case, that’s on an SD expansion card as well as the internal memory of the device. Tap on the small down arrow at the top left corner of the screen to limit the listing to one location, or tap and hold on one of the location names to open a popup menu of commonly used functions, such as a quick slideshow of the images in the selected directory, more info, or the ability to rename or delete the images in that location. A quick tap on a location name “opens” the directory and shows a list of the photos inside. At the bottom of the screen, handy buttons allow you to change to thumbnail view or create a slideshow of the selected images.

Viewing an image also offers several different options, but fortunately they’re all quite easy to understand. When you first open an image, you may notice control icons in each corner of the photo. The small minus sign allows you to hide the control icons and view the photo in full screen mode, without any distractions. The black X in the red box in the top right corner closes the photo, the magnifying glass opens zoom mode, and the small icon in the lower right corner allows you to change the orientation of the photograph. Even better, you can control all of those modes without picking up your stylus. Depending on the device you have, the five-way navigator on a palmOne Tungsten or the analog joystick on the Tapwave Zodiac give you complete control. I’m especially pleased by how things work on my Zodiac– I can move from one picture to antoher by tapping left and right on the joystick and change modes using the function button. Hit the function button once, and I’m in zoom mode, one more time allows me to scan across and/or up and down in the photo, and one more time to change the orientation. The shoulder buttons also work to either change the orientation or to go back to list view.

Thumbnail view is also rather nicely implemented, with the option to see one, six, or thirty thumbnails at once. The currently selected photo “moves” slightly, zooming in and out, so you can see exactly where you are; it functions like a blinking cursor on a desktop computer. Slideshow mode also offers several options, such as a preset delay between photos that varies from one second to one minute, the ability to cross fade between each shot (which produces a cool visual effect), whether or not you want the slideshow to loop or stay on in the cradle, and whether you want the pictures in random order or not. The slideshow mode is great for quickly viewing several pictures, of course, and is also nice for when the device is in the cradle.

Of course one of the most important questions has to do with performance. Since AcidImage is opening up files in native formats, it has to do a lot of work. The first time the program opened on my Tapwave Zodiac, it did take a few seconds. I immediately turned on the option that allows AcidImage to cache thumbnails though, and saw an immediate speed improvement. I am very pleased with speed in general; it only takes a second or so for very large images (2MB+) to open, which is perfectly reasonable. Smaller photos of a few hundred “k” or less open instantaneously.

As you can probably tell, I LOVE the new AcidImage. It performed almost flawlessly on my Tapwave Zodiac, except for a slight screen redraw issue that caused a couple of cosmetic issues with the file list view (the developer is working to get it fixed right now). Everything else is completely flawless and for that reason, AcidImage 3.0 gets a “Five Goddess” rating. In fact, my only complaint is that the application has definitely reawakened the “photo bug” in me! I have two 512MB SD cards, which I thought would be plenty of storage for the forseeable future, but now I think it’s time to start saving up for a nice 1GB card. . .

AcidImage 3.0 requires 416K of memory on your Palm OS handheld. Three different versions are available, a basic viewer for JPG only ($17.95), the standard version ($29.95), and the Pro version ($49.95). You can get a free trial or puchase the right AcidImage version for all your image viewing needs at the Red Mercury web site

PocketGoddess Rating for AcidImage 3.0: 5 out of 5

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