Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Feedly – Easy to use, not too Feedly.

Feedly (Beta)

Since getting my first Android handset I’ve gone through my fair share of RSS feed readers. I’ve tried the official Google Reader app, Pulse News Reader, GReader and NewsRob amongst others. All were very good but still not the 100% perfect RSS reader that I was looking for (although I do love the interface on Pulse). Now a new app, Feedly, has stepped forward to be added to this ever-growing list and in the process offers up a unique new UI.
Rather than going for the standard ‘news listing’ layout Feedly goes for what it calls a ‘magazine-like overlay’. This involves a large front page for the latest news post with further posts becoming available as your scroll through them like you would turn a page. This ‘magazine’ aspect is very clean but also pleasing to look at making it a worthy download for those who want an alternative to Pulse Reader. On my HTC Desire it looked great, on an Android tablet it could possibly look excellent. Away from the front-end there’s also a built in browser in which to read posts with an option to open them up in your standard browser.
Setting up Feedly is utterly painless, it has a selection of default feeds to read and thanks to the way it integrates with the Android Account Manager it can import your Google Reader account with a simple button press.
Speaking of integration, Feedly also keeps your desktop based Google Reader account in sync with what you’ve already read on your phone therefore avoiding repetition when you transition between the two. Feedly really does a great job of allowing you to stay on top of your feeds, an aspect that I have found lacking in other RRS feed readers.
For those who like to share what they come across, Feedly also packs the standard share options so you can forward stories to Tweetdeck, Facebook or whatever you use to frequent your online social circles.

The pull out side menu provides easy access to all your feeds.

Another advantage is that Feedly also seems to happily take care of any number of unread posts making all your material available. This is an advantage over similar apps that only load up a limited amount of posts which can leave older unread items out of reach.
Sadly it’s not all sunshine & lollipops, whilst being used on 3G I found myself occasionally booted out of my Google Reader account but it was nothing a few key presses couldn’t fix.
There’s also a learning curve to navigating your way around your feeds. If you rely on the main screen to get around it’s possible to not find yourself in an unexpected place. In most cases it’s best to stick to the slide out menu to access a specific feed. Also, those people rocking a handset with a larger screen may also lament the lack of a landscape view. For sharing purposes there is a built in ‘Twitter share’ client but so far it seems unfinished as I couldn’t find a way to log into it.
The important thing to remember here is the ‘Beta’ tag, Feedly isn’t in its final stages so this is all stuff that’s ripe for a clean up when the app gets a proper release. When it does go official this app could well be one of the best of its ilk on the Marketplace.

About This App – Version Reviewed : 0.9.4
Requires Android : 2.2 and up , Category : News , Size : 2.6M , Price : Free

Links : Android Marketplace, Install via AppBrain, Official Page (check the guided tour on here for some Android based tips)

Bottom Line : It’s still not the 100% RSS app that I’m looking for but it’s very much on it’s way to getting there. Great stuff.

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Google Reader – Google, Finally Kicking RSS*

Google Reader

Yeah I know, I need to stay on top of my feeds a bit more.

At last! Google Reader is now available as a standalone app for Android handsets. As much as I like ‘Pulse‘ and its slick UI it’s unable to handle all of the feeds that I have set up on my Google Reader account, this where the new Google Reader app comes into play. I use the original Google Reader in my web browser to manage all my RSS feeds and it does the job superbly, when surfing the web I always leave it open in a tab and let the articles I want to read drop straight into my lap. The good news is that Google have perfectly replicated this on the Android platform right down to the simple uncluttered UI.
All of the features from the standard Google Reader are here, you can ‘star’, like and share news items, you can even create folders and organise where your news feed will reside (this is achieved by long clicking on a news feed). There’s also a quick and easy function to send a news item to another app on your handset such as a twitter client, simply press the menu button when viewing a single post and select ‘send’. There have been some reported issues with the ‘share’ and ‘notes’ features however, these aren’t functions that I use so I’d recommend a look at Joe’s review over at andgeeks.com to get the full picture.
The main settings menu is accessible from the ‘home’ screen and from here you can activate the handy ‘volume key navigation’ function, this will let you flick through posts in a news feed by using the volume keys. The only thing I havn’t been able to find is a quick and easy way to get back to the home screen when in a news post, a ‘home’ button in the menu button would have been nice.
The app also has a good handle on media that has been placed within posts, images display with no problems and selecting a Youtube video will open it via the native Youtube app (this worked 95% of the time, the other 5% they didn’t work at all). If you have an RRS feed set up for a podcast Google Reader will show the link to the audio at the bottom of each post which can then be easily opened in a compatible music app of your choice. I used Google Reader over a 3G signal and it ran at an solid pace with no major waiting times for items to download, the only downside is the lack of downloading items for offline reading. No signal? No RSS for you then.
Despite the odd niggle Google have pretty much hit the nail bang on with this app, it’s a shame it took them three years after Android launched to get it made but at least now it’s here we can all get in on the RSS goodness.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : Simple, uncluttered and pretty much exactly all it needs to be, if Google throw in a ‘home’ button then I’m totally sold on this. If you use Google Reader in your desktop web browser then this is a good way get the same experience on your mobile.

*Yeah, I know I did this joke the other week. RSS puns are pretty thin on the ground don’t you know.

Pulse News Reader – An Android App That Kicks RSS

Pulse News Reader

I use Google Reader to keep up with my favourite websites, it’s a great tool for managing RSS feeds and it translates pretty well to my Android handset via the mobile web browser. Despite this I’ve always felt that I’d prefer to have an actual decent app do the job of handling my new feeds on my HTC Desire and upon hearing the news that it had been price dropped to £0 I decided to give ‘Pulse News Reader’ a spin. Since making an appearance during the launch of the iPad the app has found itself on the recieving end of tonnes of attention across both the iOS and Android platforms to the point where it has landed a coveted spot in the ‘App Store Hall of Fame’.

Pulse News Reader allows you to take feeds from 20 RSS streams of your choice and have them displayed on your screen in a touch senstive ‘News Strip’ style interface. You can easily choose and organise your sources as well as share articles directly to Twitter, Facebook or any other app on your handset (complete with a shortened url).

When I first saw that video I didn’t even wait for it to finish, I dived straight into the Marketplace to download the app and I’m glad to say that Pulse does pretty much everything right.

Hey look! It's us, in RSS form.

Moving around the numerous feeds and menus is intuitive, easy work and for the most part it does a great job of grabbing images from each article to populate your streams.  As a result it looks great, there’s minimal lag and it also makes short work of showing you what you want to see, even on 3G. A little tip to help save on battery drain, you may want to dip into the settings and disable ‘Background Updates’. You can also, via Pulse, log into your Google Reader account, choose from any feeds you have set-up and stick them in Pulse’s main screen. I love that using this app I can easily share an article with Tweetdeck and have it create a tweet complete with a shortened url, I can then edit the tweet and send it from any one of my three Twitter accounts; all within a few steps. Brilliant! Pulse is a clever idea excellently executed. If you use RSS news feeds then this is a great way to stay on top of them.

Links : Install via AppBrain, Official Website

Bottom Line : A visually slick app that quickly delivers your RSS feeds in a dynamic fashion. Excellent stuff.

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