Shows enormous potential, but there's a long way to go before the app will be worth your time.
by on August 5, 2011
There have been plenty of apps that have tried to combine social media and news feeds together in a meaningful way, but rarely have they succeeded.
The excellent Flipboard, which turns your Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds into an attractive digital magazine for your iPad, is one notable exception. Rather than jump on the same bandwagon, AllofMe’s innovative iStreamer tries a radically new approach – it displays your digital world on a scrolling 3D timeline, showing you what happened, and when, over the last 15 minutes or so. But while the app shows promise, it’s still too rough around the edges to be ready for prime time quite yet. We’ll show you what we mean.
As you can see from the screenshot, new tweets, RSS news posts or Facebook status updates are added to your timeline as they happen. When you launch the app, this world of chatter gently scrolls past, showing you when each update arrived with a little preview box. Eventually, it catches up to the present moment, whereupon it faithfully sits and waits for more updates to arrive. If you want to scroll back in time and watch the show all over again, you just swipe right a few times and leave it to do its scrolly thing.
The app can only integrate with Facebook and Twitter thus far, and there’s no integration with Google Reader (which most people use for their RSS feeds). Instead feeds need to be added manually, or you can pick and choose from the (actually very good) selection that’s supplied in the app.
Select a tweet or status update and you get a fullscreen preview that enables you to read the whole message. Tapping a live web link opens up an embedded browser, so you can visit the page without leaving the app. You can also zoom into your timeline – this is useful if you want to scan a part of your Twitter feed where many updates arrived over a few seconds, for example. It works especially well when following a live event, such as X Factor, but is let down by only being able to see the Twitter timeline of people you follow, rather than being able to include a Twitter search for something along the lines of #xfactor to see what everyone else is saying.
iStreamer is a very good idea, and there’s nothing quite like it on the market, but it feels unfinished. Navigation is intuitive and quick enough, but the 3D background looks drab and uninviting; plus it only functions in landscape mode, so you can’t sit your iPad in your Apple Dock and have it running in the background as a screensaver. In fact, having it function as a kind of continually running screensaver going over and over your social media streams for the last 15 minutes would be the best use of iStreamer, so we’re particularly disappointed this feature hasn’t been implemented. In the current incarnation, it just moves up to the present and sits there patiently, waiting for something to happen. Indeed, many of the promised features in its promo video (such as email alerts and calendar events) haven’t been added yet. Worse still, it’s very buggy. For example, there’s a Filter button that enables you to view just one stream at a time – so you could see only Facebook updates if you wanted – but selecting it often causes the app to crash.
iStreamer is a great idea, and it shows potential that we’re sure will be realised, but it’s not there yet. We’d like to revisit the app after a few months when a new version is out to see where it’s at, but right now we’re sorry to say that it’s not worth the price.
Download this app: iStreamer for iPad
Best iPad apps | Apple iPad 2 review
Review courtest of Tap!