Review: Mobile Fotos
Overall rating: ****
Mobile Fotos ($2.99) is an excellent way to use Flickr on the iPhone. It is not officially endorsed by Flickr, but it makes superb use of the Flickr API. When you tap the icon, here is what you see:
"You" gives you a list of what you can get to through your Flickr page: contacts, sets, groups, favorites, and tags. Photos load as they do in the Photos program. You can flick through them or load them one by one. There is also a "Nearby" menu, which allows browsing of nearby photos if Location Services is turned on.
With Mobile Fotos, you can upload photos to Flickr in two ways. If you use the Camera function, you take the shot and upload it directly to Flickr, completely bypassing the camera roll. This allows full-resolution uploads (1200 x 1600). Otherwise you can upload from an album or the camera roll, which allows uploads of 640 x 480---an iPhone OS limitation NOT specific to Mobile Fotos. When uploading by either method, you can write titles and descriptions, add tags, geotag, and choose sets and privacy levels (just like uploading through the other various official Flickr interfaces). Mobile Fotos does not ask to use your current location, though, so if you have Location Services turned off you will not get a geotagging option.
This app does what it sets out to do and in seamless, obvious ways. All of the menus and buttons do what it intuitively seems they should. I have found only a few major problems. If you are using the camera function to take and upload a photo and you get a phone call, you're hosed and have to start over; similarly, if the upload hangs for whatever reason (this happened to me when my wireless network choked), the photo is not saved anywhere. The upshot is that if you use the Camera function to upload, the photo is never saved anywhere on your phone, so if you are getting a one-of-a-kind shot and something goes wrong, you won't get another chance.
It is possible to achieve much the same result by using e-mail to upload Flickr photos, but although this sends full-resolution photos to Flickr and can tag them, you cannot change sets or privacy settings for individual photos and have no geotagging ability. Similarly, Flickr has a mobile Web interface, but its capabilities are severely limited compared with the browsing options available through Mobile Foto.
Browsing group photos is simple and fast enough on 3G or wireless networks; it takes awhile over EDGE, but Mobile Fotos does cache what you've already looked at, which is handy for looking through your own sets and photos.
Early versions of this program got bad reviews, but the developers have responded expeditiously and turned out an excellent app, especially for the price. Frequent Flickr users will find this a worthy addition to their iPhones because it fills holes left by the Flickr mobile interface and the Flickr e-mail upload capabilities.