Comic Shelf, by Canuck Coding (Jason Robitaille)

Back when the “Comics” application appeared for webOS, we expected that in a short time we could have a native CBZ (Comic Book Compressed File) reader for webOS. We were wrong, as it involved calling a binary decompressor or some inefficient javascript routine that would make the application too slow.

Fast forward to webOS 1.4.5. Hybrid applications (using a combination of javascript pages and binary services) are supported, but not yet accepted in the application catalog for mass download.  It was until webOS 2.x when the app catalog began accepting hybrid apps and the webOS legend Jason Robitaille could develop and distribute his native CBZ comic reader “Comic Shelf”, as a inexpensive paid app.

From the splash screen portraying Wolverine, to the comic typeface in the title, the app screams comics.

The usage is pretty simple. You drop your CBZ files somewhere on the USB portion of your device, open the app, and you’re set. The app will scan your files and show the relevant directories that include said files.

The interface is extremely minimalist, showing just four (hiddable) buttons:
* Title: With the option to share the entire comic or the current page by email, or just the page by MMS, set the page as wallpaper, or save it to the device.
* Back Button: Goes back one page
* Page Button: Lets you go to a specific page on your comic book
* Forward Button: Lets you go to the next page

That’s it. If you want to hide the buttons, you just tap somewhere else and they’re gone, letting you navigate freely on the pages.

It supports landscape and portrait modes, although it would be a nice addition if it could carry on the zoom settings from one page to another.

Overall, it’s a really solid app, with a great opening speed for a portable device, as it could handle one of my CBZ files, a 500Mb one without much trouble. There is no lag between pages and it has its set of small but useful options.  Totally worth its price.

The only problem right now is that it’s only sold on the 2.x webOS app catalog, leaving most of the Pre and Pre Plus phones out of the question, since many of them only support a 1.4.5 profile at most on Palm’s profile page. So, if you have a 2.x device and Palm Profile, you can get it from here:

Comic Shelf for webOS

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