Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
David Gilson sneeks a peek at a couple of novel versions of a classic literary work, looking mainly at one by Offscreen Technologies, but also mentioning GoSpoken's more traditional ebook edition. What do you think of this trend of content being wrapped up in application form? Will it result in us drowning in icons? Comments welcome!
Version Reviewed: 1.0
The idea of distributing a book in the form of an application is not new. However, this Offscreen Technologies edition of Alice is the most polished example I've seen. The application runs on S60 5th Edition touch screen phones, and adapts well to working in either landscape or portrait orientations.
Navigating through the book is pleasingly smooth. Swiping to the left (or upwards) advances a page forward, and vice versa. There are two ways of navigating chapters. First is the contents list accessible via a button on the app's title bar. Second is a slider running along the bottom of the page.
The text size is readable, although for people with poor close range vision it may be uncomfortable on all but the large N97/mini screens. Unfortunately, there isn't a function to change the font size.
While it is good to have a hyperlinked contents list, it would have been nice to have a custom bookmark function too.
[As a contrast, GoSpoken also have an e-book-as-an-application edition of Alice on the Ovi Store (among other titles). Their reader is much more configurable, with options for text and background colour and font size. It also remembers the last page you were reading. However, the page transition animations are much slower, and just doesn't have the decorative feel of the edition on review here.]
In general, the app-per-book model has too many disadvantages to become a primary distribution method. However, in the case of out-of-copyright works that are available to all, it is a great little novelty.
Reviewed by David Gilson at