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Review: Wide-format e-mail apps for iPhone

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However, BKE doesn’t provide support for drafts or templates, and its biggest drawback—a real deal-killer—is that it doesn’t save your text when you quit the app or when sending a message to Mail. So if you’re typing a message, but you remember that you need to switch to Mail to get a reply ready for that text, you lose everything you’ve typed. The worst-case scenario, which actually happened to me while testing the app, is that you’re in the middle of typing a long e-mail when someone calls. If you accept the call, you lose your work. (If you decline the call, the iPhone doesn’t actually quit the current app, so you’re OK. Still, who wants to decide between losing your work or missing a phone call?)

EasyWriter

Another simple take on the widescreen-keyboard app, EasyWriter from Saxorama.net works in both landscape and portrait modes, but, like Compose, provides just a large text-editing field and a button for sending the text to Mail. It doesn’t provide a subject field or any way of designating part of your message as the subject. Tapping the Send To Mail button pastes your text into a new Mail message or into the body of an already-in-progress reply or forwarded message.

EasyWriter's landscape mode

One feature I liked is that you can adjust the viewing size of text in EasyWriter by using the iPhone’s familiar pinch and zoom gestures. There are seven different font sizes, ranging from eye-strain small to space-hog huge. At the standard font size, EasyWriter lets you view five lines of text in landscape mode and nine lines in portrait mode. The smallest font size increases the number of visible lines to eight and 15, respectively; the largest font size drops those numbers to two and 3.5.

EasyWriter provides no draft or template features. It automatically saves the current contents of the editing window when you quit the app; however, when you send your text to Mail, EasyWriter deletes it from its own text area. (In fact, that’s the only way to clear the text area other than manually deleting the text using the backspace key.) If you quit the app without sending your text, the app's Home screen icon displays a “1” badge—much like Mail’s unread-message badge—indicating that you’ve got text saved in the app.

All six apps in this roundup are compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.x software update.

[Senior editor Dan Frakes reviews low-cost software for the Mac Gems blog.]

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Compose

  • Generic Company Place Holder Sideways

  • Generic Company Place Holder EasyWriter

  • Generic Company Place Holder Big Keyboard Email

  • Generic Company Place Holder Spell ✓ Email - TouchType

  • Generic Company Place Holder Wide Email (typing shortcuts)

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