Road Inc. iPad app

Road Inc. is like an interactive coffee table book of classic cars.

It's become the hackneyed phrase of the decade, but yes, there's an app for that. And this, and the other. So when we tell you that Pyrolia's Road Inc. is a must-have for iPad owners, you might think we're exaggerating, that this is just one of those dozens of apps that one day you might get around to downloading, but then again, you might not. Should you choose to interpret our suggestion in that fashion, you would be wrong. And if you miss the opportunity to download it today, for just $0.99 instead of the usual $9.99 price, well then, you're just foolish.

To read why we say so and see a demonstration video of the app, click past the jump.
Related GalleryRoad Inc. iPad app

Road Inc. Porsche 911
Road Inc. Porsche 911

Road Inc. is like an interactive coffee table book of classic cars. Its developers call it a "virtual museum" and while that sounds hyperbolical, it's entirely apt. (So too would be describing it as the fulfillment of all the promise of so-called "multimedia" software that fizzled out in the mid-1990s.) Its producers say Road Inc. contains some 200 pages of original writing, 500 studio photographs, 2,000 location photos, 180 press clips, 200 period advertisements, 90 brochures, 150 factory schematics, 150 engine noise samples, 40 maintenance manuals, and 75 videos, among other assets, covering 50 of the most important cars ever built.

This app is nothing if not beautiful. The quality of the original images is superb, and most of the archival material presented is top notch as well.

We'll let you be pleasantly surprised by the cars included, but as you can see from our gallery, they include such monumental models as the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, Ferrari 250 GTO, Porsche 911, Lamborghini Countach, BMW M1, Ferrari Testarossa, McLaren F1, and Bugatti Veyron. But beyond all the cars and the information density of their accompaniments, this app is nothing if not beautiful. The quality of the original images is superb, and most of the archival material presented is top notch as well. We will admit to being a bit disappointed in some of the video, which seems like it could have been encoded to look a little nicer, but that's about the only criticism we can levy with regards to the content.

The navigation and interface of the app is well thought-out, and while it does have a learning curve, we like the way the cars are presented along a configurable timeline. The full app takes up an incredible amount of space, so rather than caching all the information locally, you can pick and choose which cars to have downloaded onto your iPad, with the cars that are still out in the cloud appearing covered in sheets. It's a clever detail, and one that is entirely indicative of the care that went into developing the software.

While Road Inc. is not perfect – we did find a couple of typos and experienced a full-on crash – it's a great piece software that will provide hours of entertainment and a good history lesson to boot.