Two Killer iPad Apps: Atomic Web and Split Screen
I’m always on the prowl for applications that deliver ease of use while improving my blogging productivity. Since I got my iPad, I found blogging on the tablet to be a clunky two-step process because of Safari and WordPress limitations. But two App Store offerings — called Atomic Web and Split Screen — provide the type of functionality I’ve been seeking. Here’s some background on these cheap and helpful iPad apps.
Atomic Web ($.99) is a fully featured web browser that provides tabbed browsing, spoofing of browser type, private mode, font size changing, ad blocking, full screen and even multi-touch navigation (which is a bit tricky).
Here’s the killer part of the Atomic Web app: tabs stay awake and in memory. While Safari re-loads every window after navigating away to open a new window, the Atomic Web tabs stay live and keep you productive instead of wasting time refreshing a page. It’s great for blogging, since the full-screen mode makes the WordPress blogging console fully functional and I can keep a tab open for my GMail and GChat at the same time. That means collaboration and multitasking inside one application, very much like you do on a ‘real’ desktop web browser. The ‘real’ desktop browser feel extends deeper, too, with options for displaying images on and off, warning about low memory, privacy options and even letting you change the theme of the app.
I only have one issue with Atomic Web: After closing it, Atomic Web only revives one tab, not all the ones you had open. (However, this app works flawlessly with jailbroken iPads using Backgrounder).
SplitScreen ($.99) is another ‘multi-tasking’ browser like Atomic Web, but it strives to be simple and basic. It’s just two browser windows side by side, with the ability to shrink and stretch them accordingly. The browser frames actively re-size the content on the screen, striving to always make the content of the page usable, no matter how wide or thin you’ve made it. It works nicely with GChat in one screen and e-mail in the other. Also very useful is a press release in one window, while I take notes in the other browser window inside GMail.
Still, having only two windows can be an obvious limitation. SplitScreen by default sets the left column to the horizontal resolution of the iPhone, so iPhone web apps look and feel great, while working natively. Biggest complaint? Resizing the windows is slow and a bit unresponsive, but at least the web pages aren’t unresponsive after the scaling is done.
Buying both these apps will cost you merely $2, and it’s a worthwhile investment, especially since Atomic Web is compatible for both iPads and iPhones.
Tabbed browsing on the iPad + an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard = dust on my netbook. You might find the same thing true for you too, though there is something slightly ‘unproductive’ about carrying around two devices instead of one. Nevertheless, with cloud-based apps and web or cloud-based work becoming more common, desktop and tabbed browsing experiences on the iPad are key, and these apps fill that niche perfectly.