I’m vain when it comes to my Evo. Sure, I want the device to perform at the top of its ability and be super-functional, but I want it to look pretty while it’s doing it. That means finding the right themes and apps to complement whatever look I might want for my phone. A while ago I realized that there was no good functional image search option included with Android, and certainly not a pretty one. Basically, there was Google image search via the Internet and I wanted something better, so I scoured the Market for what I was looking for. What I came back with was DroidIris by developer Alexandre Delattre.
DroidIris will probably have a familiar look to those that are familiar with CoolIris, a similar image app for the Firefox browser. It’s very sleek and attractive, but makes image browsing quick and intuitive at the same time. Pictures are displayed against a stark black background and there’s a nice mirrored effect underneath the pictures along the bottom of the screen. In the top right corner, whatever search engine you happen to be using (more on this later) is displayed. This is the main view and it’s very simple and elegant.
Upon first firing up the app, there’s a pop-up that gives the developer’s e-mail (a really nice, personal touch) and a basic idea of how the app works (also nice). When you click OK, you’re presented with the default search which is “space.” Swiping left and right scrolls the pictures with a really nice tilting effect and it does this very smoothly.
Double-tapping a picture will zoom closer to it and you’ll see a loading wheel in the bottom right corner while it downloads the full picture. (If you’re having issues with long load times, you may want to go change the size of the searched pictures in the options. More on this later.)
Once the picture has downloaded, you have buttons at the bottom that allow you to save the picture, set the picture as a wallpaper, share the picture, or go straight to the website that the picture is pulled from. You have full pinch-to-zoom here which is really handy. Single-tapping makes the buttons at the bottom disappear and reappear, and double-tapping the picture or pressing back zooms out back to the full image search view that you came from.
From the main view, you can hit the menu key of your phone to get to Search (nice if your phone doesn’t have a dedicated search button), Preferences, About, and Help. About gives you the information you’d expect and Help takes you to a handy very mobile-friendly site that explains anything you might need help with, including possible gestures and a key for the icons and notifications used in the app. Preferences gives you a few options like resuming your last search upon launch and clearing the cache.
Upon selecting search from the main screen menu (or just pressing search on your phone), you’re taken to the main search screen, where you can enter your search and then choose from 5 search engine options: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Youtube, and Vi.sualize.us. The choice of search engine is certainly handy, but it’s not the only option you have. At the bottom are three buttons that can take you to other options such as size of images to search, history, and the safe search option.
If I had to make one suggestion to the developer, it would be integration with the Android universal search feature. This would make this app pretty much perfect.
All in all, DroidIris is exactly what I was looking for and I strongly recommend it as a primary image search app for any user. It presents image searches in an elegant and attractive interface, and does it in an easy to use and functional way. It also gives plenty of options to make sure that you’re pulling down the pictures you’re actually wanting to find. From a stability standpoint, I have zero qualms recommending it, as I’ve never gotten lag or so much as a single force close.
DroidIris is available for free in the Android Market. Get it here!