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Tom Hanks' typewriter app tops iTunes downloads

Academy Award winner Tom Hanks has taken on a new leading role as an iPad app developer. His Hanx Writer app -- which recently hit the top of the charts as the most downloaded app in iTunes -- combines the best of both writing worlds, simulating an old-fashioned typewriter experience on a tablet format, as CNET.com's Kara Tsuboi reports.

The actor's latest side project stems from his long-time fascination with typewriters. Hanks collaborated with tech company Hitcents to create the app's authentic typewriter features, including customizable fonts and keyboard styles.

Those nostalgic for the sounds and style of a classic typewriter can test out different versions on the app. On the App Store, the Hanx 707 promises to be "bold enough for any journey," while the Hanx Golden Touch is described as "sleek and elegant." Documents are shareable through modern technology, including text or email, and can be printed from the iPad.

"I probably won't be writing my dissertation on this thing, but I have found it to be very pleasing when typing shorter works -- like this review," one user observed.

Hanx Writer isn't the first typewriter app to emerge on the tech scene. As Tsuboi explains, Typing Writer, currently $2 on iTunes, also mimics the typewriter experience and includes first drafts from famous authors' typewritten manuscripts to inspire those who want to emulate the process.

Those daring and patient enough to try typewriting on their phone can try the Type-Writer for Androids and The Amazing Type-Writer for iPhones, currently $1.99.

Hanks is among a growing list of celebrities venturing into app territory. "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," is a free app for iPhones and iPads and takes users on a red carpet celebrity avatar adventure, while Justin Bieber's more self-centric free selfie app, "Shots," is growing as a top social media app.