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Desktop for iPad plays some 'multitasking' tricks that are useful

Mel Martin
Desktop for iPad tries to bring a little (sort of) multitasking joy into your life. Through some split screen tricks, it can give you a browser and let you write an email on the same screen. Of course, you can cut and paste between the two. You can also use the split screen functionality to accommodate a calculator, currency converter, dictionary, maps with geolocation, a translator, unit converter, and a weather app.

It's a pretty clever idea, and I found a few good uses for it, like selectively sending parts of a Web page to someone in an email. Yes, you could do it with the standard cut and paste, but it was nice to see the body of the email and the Web page at the same time.

The app supports landscape and portrait modes, and you can split the screen vertically or horizontally.

Of course, when Apple brings its flavor of multitasking to the iPad later this year, such apps might not be so helpful. On the other hand, I don't see anything in the Apple previews that leads me to believe I'll be able to have two Web pages open on the same page or a Web page and translator app visible at the same time.

To get around the strict Apple rules, this app plays some games. It's not using Safari as the browser, just a built in WebKit version. That means your bookmarks aren't available; you have to type everything in manually or save the bookmarks again in the included browser. You're not really seeing your mail app either. You type on a blank slate, and when it's time to send, your page is copied into a regular iPad mail message. It works fine, but it's still a workaround dictated by Apple.

Desktop for iPad is on sale for U.S. $0.99 until Friday.

Pictures of Desktop in action are in our gallery: