And now for something a little different. We have reviewed several of the launch apps for HP TouchPad, and they have all been big releases from Gameloft, HP and 10 Tons so we thought it would be good to have a look at an app that, while certainly a niche product, is also riding high in the TouchPad app charts.
Quaker HD is all about earthquakes. Not in a videogame sense, but real life earthquakes that are happening around the world, right now.
It’s a fascinating idea, using an app to view earthquake hotspots and to be alerted when they happen, and luckily the developer has taken the time to make that idea into something that is enjoyable to use and well as being informative and interesting.
The app has two basic views, one is an information view that is essentially the USGS Website and the other is a gorgeous map view of the world that implements Bing Maps.
You can pinch to zoom and pan around the map just like in Bing Maps, but with earthquake hotspots illustrated by pins all over the world. Touching a pin brings up lots of information as well as the option of sharing this via text, Email, Twitter and Facebook.
Touching the other view cleverly brings up the USGS Webpage for that hotspot, and it’s from here that you can get all the information you could ever want, including more geographic pictures using a third view.
The main map works really well, and I really liked the fact that, when there are many pins all clustered together, the app gives you the information on the most urgent, red pin when you touch the group. A slight problem here is that the map is a lot more laggy than the main Bing Maps app, presumably because of the extra data. This is only a problem when pinching to zoom, and there are buttons to zoom more smoothly if you wish.
Quaker HD also uses the new webOS panes well, with a slide out section that gives you a customisable list of quakes. The app auto locates you using the TouchPads Wi-Fi location service, and you can even set up notifications of new quakes. Unfortunately, they currently only work when the app is running, but the developer has said background notifications are on the way. This would be particularly important for those people actually living in an area with a lot of quake activity.
Overall, this is a great app for those who are either interested in earthquakes or live in an active area. The map view is great looking, if a little slow, but the wealth of information available is staggering, and I can highly recommend this application for any new TouchPad owners that want to see their new tablet do something a little different.
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