Friday, June 17, 2011

Content Readers for Android

I'm always interested in getting useful apps for my Galaxy S. So, when Ed Dale tweeted this morning about using Tweetbot on the iPhone/iPad to create a Flipboard magazine, I got to thinking this was something that could be very handy indeed.

Except, of course, I'm not an iDrone.

A quick search of the Marketplace turned up four Android apps that appear to be pretty decent newsreaders. However, before I go any further I must explain something: No matter how hard I try, I cannot find a good reason to have a newsreader on my phone.

The thing is, I don't follow that many specific magazines. I have a CBC news app on my phone to cover breaking headlines. But I honestly don't spend that much time scouring blogs for interesting content.

"But, Steve," I can hear you saying, "how do you stay so hip and current with everything that's going on in the world of awesomeness?!" Glad you asked.

There's a neat little piece of contemporary culture known as "social aggregation" (OK, I don't know if that's a real term...I just made it up, but follow me on this, and we'll see if maybe I can coin a new term for this phenomenon). Aggregators (like Flipboard) collect feeds from sites and blogs all over the world, and can be used to trim these out to your specific interests. You use them to consolidate (or "aggregate") the feed content from your favourite sources and organize them categorically (news, fashion, tech, gadgets, entertainment, food, etc.).

Well, I get updates on Facebook and Twitter. When someone I follow, or a friend, posts something of interest I check it out. This saves me from having to follow a bunch of news feeds, because I know that my friends follow things that are of interest to me anyway. It also saves me from having to read pages and pages of headlines in my readers. So that's aggregation refers to using my existing social networks to aggregate feeds that are of interest to me so I don't have to.

Now, there are several blogs that I do follow. However, once again it's the social network that provides me with posts when they come up. So, when Ed Dale or Sid Savara or Mark McGuinness post a new article on their blogs, I see that right away (in this case, in Twitter). So, for me, Twitter and Facebook actually take the place of a newsreader in my functional workflow (where reading news or blog updates can be considered "workflow," that is).

However, if you're Droiding and if you do follow certain news channels, you may want to check these out. I gave them all a test drive this morning, and I found they've all got fairly similar qualities. They all do the same things too. The major differences appear to be in the design of the cartoons they use for the introductory tutorials.



Pulse News



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