Our Mobile Devices, mainly phones and tablets, are becoming the central hub through which we consume information about the world around us. No longer is the phone for phone-things and the TV for TV-things (whatever that means). Instead, companies like CNN, ABC and even the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have began focusing on their mobile websites and Apps, making sure content is available in excess to users no matter what their platform. With so many sources of information, one has to be able to find a way to organize it so that they can find what they want when they want it, and avoid having to switch between multiple apps needlessly. But which news ‘aggregator’ is the best? We’ve compiled a list of our five favorites:
Pocket Casts ($3.99)
Sometimes, the news is something better heard than it is read. Podcasts are popular radio-esque broadcasts, featuring news, talks, debates and whatever else you might be interested in hearing about. The ease of throwing a pair of ear-phones in and tuning out the noise of a commute makes podcasts something that are really very valuable. Pocket Casts is really a fantastic app for this purpose, throwing together all your favorite sources into a neat but colorful (not to mention feature rich) package.
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The User Interface, particularly for handling subscriptions, is top-notch and doesn’t leave you with any concerns nor questions, and the ‘Discover’ tab, similar to ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ Radio on Google Play Music, allows you to find great new tracks to listen to on the fly when you’re bored or interested in finding something new. Check it out on the Play Store!
When it comes down to it, you want an app that will provide you with an interface that gets you information quickly, and doesn’t require a lot of work to get it exactly the way you want it. But app developers can’t be mind readers, so perhaps the next best thing to an app that does things exactly the way you want it done, is an app that does it as well as it can get.
Such is the case with Press, an RSS / News Reader App that’s built specifically for Android (I love that new, exclusive smell too). It requires you to sign in, but once you do, all of your news feeds load instantly into the app, letting you get right down to business however you want to; the App splits into a few different UI levels, columns that are visible and vertical, . You start with a complete set of lists on the left-hand side, with an array of thumbnails for all feeds on the right. By tapping on any of these icons you’ll move down to the next level, which gives you access to stories. It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t, and once you check out the app, you’ll see what we mean!
gReader Pro ($4.69)
On the more expensive side of the RSS Reader variety is gReader Pro, the comprehensive and detail-packed News App that – while working similarly to Press – presents its information differently, and with a lot more freedom. The best part is, its crazy fast and really reliable.
With a small column of options on the left side of the screen, and a list of the most recent stories to come in a column that fills the rest of the screen. Tapping on them will bring the individual story up insanely fast. Besides the design language applied in this app, the biggest difference between this and Press is probably the amount of customization options provided to you. gReader Pro lets you change the way articles are sorted and displayed in each list, toggle post tags and even mark posts as ‘read’ automatically while you scroll down one of your lists — that’s pretty awesome if you ask me. It also offers a really great Offline mode, which is probably when you’re looking for something entertaining in the first place.
Something that’s a little different from your run-of-the-mill News App is Circa, a free App that provides News in bite-sized portions. The unique thing about this app, however, is that it doesn’t just take news from the sources or from RSS feeds, format them, and throw them into the app for you. Instead, Circa’s developers have their own editors that will take the stories and scale them down, including pictures and other necessary information. What’s more, is that when they’re done, it looks gorgeous on-screen.
Circa won’t appeal to everyone unfortunately, as it is not an RSS reader . You’ll be tied to the stories that the app’s editors choose to cover, so hopefully you’ll be okay with that.
Google Play Newsstand (Free)
Yes, we know it’s the stock app. But this isn’t Google Currents with its lackluster UI and poor reliability, nor is it Google’s Play Magazines app that just wasn’t robust enough to fit the bill. It’s a combination of both, and it is really pretty fantastic. You’re greeted by a “Read Now” home screen, which is similar to Google Play Music’s “Listen Now” screen. The most recent News of the day from your choice of Websites / News Providers, separated into the major catagories (Top Stories, Business, Entertainment, etc.) as you scroll. If you swipe left-to-right, you get the familiar pull out menu that Google’s Developers prefer, with options for “Read Now”, “My News”, “My Magazines”, “Bookmarks” and “Explore. If you swipe the opposite direction, you scroll through that menu, immediately to your News, where your website subscriptions will neatly organized with HD Thumbnails.
It’s intuitive, it’s beautiful, and news loads quickly. You can have your subscriptions come through as well, and when you don’t have a subscription, the App will let you know how many more free articles you have. It’s a really fantastic setup, and I’m glad Google’s made the change.
Do you guys use apps like this? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments!