App of the Week – Amazon Windowshop

Windowshop is the closest digital equivalent yet to the glossy brochures that start plopping through your letterbox in the run-up to Christmas

Price: Free

Platform: Apple iPad

Windowshop is the closest digital equivalent yet to the glossy brochures that start plopping through your letterbox in the run-up to Christmas. But unlike flimsy catalogues that woo you with a handful of special offers, Windowshop is like being drop-kicked into the Matrix and forced to choose from an infinite variety of brightly-coloured nonsense.

A truly massive grid of icons represents bestselling items in dozens of categories ranging from the banal (Books!) to the bizarre (Peculiar Items!). You then flick or swipe your way through them until something catches your eye, or your optic nerve short-circuits.

Tapping on a category column brings up its sub-categories, and then its sub-categories, and then categories beneath that, each populated with hundreds or thousands of increasingly obscure products. This isn't just windowshopping, this is consumerism itself, distilled into 9-inches of finger-friendly browsing.

There are some neat touches. Music products start playing as you enter the product page. The search function is particularly fantastic - type in anything at all - 'Croydon' say - and watch as the app sniffs out products in the weirdest of categories. Croydon Natural History magazine or Rockport Croydon trainers anyone?

But there are holes here big enough to drop Croydon's famous Fairfield Halls into. Why can't you enjoy MP3s or Video on Demand in the app? Why is the smart, useful Recommended For You column only found on the home screen, instead of in each category? And shamefully, you can't download Kindle content - the app opens up a Safari window to complete your purchase.

So perhaps Windowshop is the right name for this app. It's not that complete, it's not that convenient and it's not that clever. But it is perfect for flicking through aimlessly on the sofa while the ads are on.

You have to login or register to comment.