iPhone apps of the week

This week's iPhone and iPod Touch apps include a program to help you type e-mails faster and an online billiards game that's surprisingly fun. Check out my latest iPhone downloads every week.


One of the first criticisms people had about the iPhone was that it was too hard to type effectively using the touch screen. It was all over the tech news sites and even here at CNET. Of course, as time went on and anyone who had the iPhone for a while figured out, you eventually got used it. Now, I can rattle off text messages and e-mails faster than I ever could using a regular mobile phone. But there are still some who find the keys on the touch screen too close together (or have large fingers) and no matter how much time they spend on the iPhone, messaging and e-mailing is still a chore.

Wider touch-screen buttons and more room mean faster typing. (Credit: CNET Networks)

EasyWriter is a new addition to my iPhone that definitely helps with faster typing. There isn't much to this app beyond being able to turn the iPhone sideways and type messages using a larger landscape keyboard, but that might be enough for those users having trouble. When you're done typing, hit the send e-mail button and EasyWriter pastes your text into a new e-mail message. Another useful feature is you can change the viewable text size using a pinch or reverse-pinch on the screen. Something else you might try for long messages is setting your iPhone on a table in landscape mode and use the two-handed hunt-and-peck method for typing even faster--it worked pretty well when I tried it. Hopefully landscape typing will make it into the next iPhone software update, but for now, you can use this free app.

Adrenaline Pool Lite
Just like regular pool, you'll need to line up your ball just right for the perfect shot. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Adrenaline Pool Lite is my most recent game addition and even though it requires you play online, it's pretty fun. You have the choice of playing 8-ball, 9-ball, Snooker, and Straight pool. An automatching system matches you up with another player online. I had some hiccups looking for opponents, but once I found one it was smooth sailing. In the game you use your touch screen to angle your shot, then use the power bar to adjust how hard you want to hit the cue ball. You also have the option to put spin on the ball. It offers nice graphics, and the game physics are pretty true to life. One feature I really liked was the ability to chat with the other player. He was a nice guy, but of course, as with any online game, your mileage may vary. The paid version lets you play single player and filter your opponents--one option is to search for female opponents only. I love the ladies, but why would you put an option for that in an iPhone pool game? In any case, it's worth the free download.

What's the latest app you've downloaded? Does EasyWriter help your iPhone typing skills? Have you banked the 8-ball for the win? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.