Some software programs have a certain "wow" factor. They are so much fun and so stylish that they can showcase the hardware platform. Who would think that an unit conversion utility could sell the iPhone/iPod Touch?
Tapbots' Convertbot is from the collaboration of interface designer Mark Jardine and programmer Paul Haddad. They call their applications "utility robots" that aim to be "easy to use, focused, and lots of fun."
Certainly, Convertbot takes unit conversion to a new height. It moves from a virtual, animated click-wheel interface to a keypad. Little icons move about, appearing to slide in and out of the sides of the screen. Amazing.
There are lots of little niceties in the app, such as the automatic updating of currency exchange rates (according to the company blog, users of the forthcoming Version 1.4 will be able to turn this feature off).
Here's a list of the Categories and Units that Converbot handles. easy to use, focused, and lots of fun
And did I say that it's currently free? This is a must-have.
What's another showcase app?
I would put the e-Book reader app Classics on that list. When you "turn" the page with a brush of the finger, the book image appears to be grabbed or crimped a bit along with a shadow that deepens as the page flips. And there's a paper sound with the movement. It brings a smile to everyone who views it.
This little app may not be the practical reader for the rest of us, but it's a lot of fun as well being functional.
Do you have any suggestions for an iPhone "showcase app?" Please let me know.