App Review: 1+1=2 Feature Calculator | webOS Nation

App Review: 1+1=2 Feature Calculator 9

by Adam Marks Fri, 05 Aug 2011 4:02 pm EDT

If you are a developer and you decide to write a calculator app, you need to make sure that you bring something unique to the table, especially if you are going to charge for the app. After all, there is no reason to pay when you can just use the stock calculator app that was just added with the webOS 3.0.2 update, right? So what type of unique features can a calculator app have to differentiate itself? Maybe it can do advanced scientific calculations or can solve complex financial equations. Or maybe it’s a replica of an old-school HP calculator. In the case of 1+1=2 Feature Calculator by Ryan Gahl, available for 99 cents in the TouchPad's App Catalog, it's the ability to see a running tape of all your calculations and being able to save those tapes for future reference.

Although the developer has long-term plans to add additional calculator functions, 1+1=2 exactly matches the stock calculator app in terms of basic math functions. Aside from the typical addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, it has percentage, square root and ± buttons along with M+, M-, MR and MC memory options. But unlike the stock calculator app (and I believe all other apps in the catalog), as you tap on the buttons and perform the calculations, you get to see the running totals along the right side of the screen. This is called the "tape", referring to the old calculators that would keep a roll of paper (or tape) that would print out the results as you calculated them. You can even scroll up or down in the tape if the calculations get pushed off the top of the screen.

When you close the app and re-open it, by default the tape will reset on you. However, by tapping on the top-left corner of the screen to bring down the Application drop-down menu, you have the option to "Save As…" the current tape. Once you do this, the app will save your current calculations to that tape and continue to add to it as well. It will even load up the current tape right where you left off last the next time you launch the app. From the drop-down menu, you can also open up a New File, Save As your current calculations to another file, or go to a "Manage Files" page where you can open or delete any of your older files. While this sounds a bit confusing, it's really not. You get the hang of managing all your files after just a few minutes. As of now, you can only view your tapes on the screen, but a planned enhancement to the app will allow you to email, print or copy the tape, as well.

One of the other features of the app that is a cool differentiating feature is the ability to load different skins on top of the calculator. By accessing the "Change Skin" option in the Application dropdown, you can select one of the 11 different skins available, ranging from simple Black, Gray or White (with white or blank buttons) color schemes, to spring, summer, winter or autumn seasonal skins, a cloudy blue sky or flowery skin, or a legal pad. These skins are a nice touch to personalize your app, and I hope to see additional ones in the future as well.

Finally, while this app is a TouchPad only app at the moment, the developer does plan on bringing 1+1=2 to webOS phones, as well. He even had a beta of the app a year ago but had to put it on hold for various reasons. And when he does get around to resurrecting the phone-version of the app, the plan is for it to be available free-of-charge to anyone who purchased it for the TouchPad. It will be packaged with the different versions of the app together under the same App Catalog entry, so you would just need to manually download it on your phone once the app is available.

If you have any moderate or significant needs for a calculator app, I would definitely check out the 1+1=2 calculator app. For only 99 cents, it's a steal as compared to some of the other basic calculator apps in the catalog. While the calculation functionality of the app is currently limited, the developer has stated that he does plan to bring advanced calculator modes and the ability to create user-defined functions in the future, and even wants to bring graphing abilities in at some point. Of course, you can only judge the app for what is has today, but the "tape" functionality and skins are two great features of this calculator app. The only complaint I have with the app is that there is no backspace option if you type in a wrong number, but I have been told that a backspace feature will also be added very shortly.