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News Your Way: 10 News Aggregation Apps for Android Phones

These apps turn your phone into your own personalized news ticker.

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News aggregating apps are a great way to get your news since you can customize them to include only the sources or topics that you are interested in. The right news aggregator can help both in expanding your knowledge of a subject and in exposing you to a much more diverse set of views. These are my top ten favorite news aggregation apps on Android phones--but feel free to leave a comment if your particular favorite isn't mentioned in the following pages.

Pulse

Pulse has a simple and streamlined design that works best on phones with larger screens. It comes preloaded will a small variety of news sources (like Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal), but you can easily add your own by using the app's built-in search function to find websites that you would like to subscribe to. If you use Google Reader, you can quickly and easily import your existing subscriptions into Pulse for a much more visual reading experience.

Pulse arranges your subscriptions as rows, with each story represented as a square with an image and a headline. You can browse through recent headlines by swiping rows left or right, and tapping a story will open that story in a simplified layout that's easier to read than the full webpage. Pulse is great for quickly browsing headlines, though the layout might feel a little cramped on phones with smaller screens.

Pulse by Alphonso Labs | Price: Free

Google Currents

Currents is Google's attempt to bring a Flipbook-like experience to Android, and for the most part, it does a good job.

All your news sources are displayed in your Currents library, and you can easily customize what shows up in your library by going into the settings menu and searching for new sources to subscribe to. Each website in your library will display as a small square with that website's logo inside. Tapping on one of these squares will open a virtual magazine of that website's most recent stories. Depending on the website, each "magazine" will be formatted differently--but for the most part, all of them feature a large "cover story" that will appear prominently when you first enter that magazine.

Aside from your library of websites, Google Currents also has a separate tab that shows you what's hot on Google News, which can be helpful for keeping on top of world events. Although it received some less-than-enthusiastic reviews at first, Google Currents continues to improve with each update, and is worth taking a look at if you are a fan of apps like Flipbook or Zite on iOS.

Google Currents by Google Inc. | Price: Free

ChannelCaster

ChannelCaster is definitely one of the flashier apps on this list. Whereas most other news aggregation apps only allow you to add a website's RSS feed, ChannelCaster lets you build your own custom "channel" that includes everything from news sites to tweets on a subject.

When you build a channel, you can choose whether to share it with other ChannelCaster members. If you aren't picky about your sources, ChannelCaster comes with several premade channels that you can browse at your leisure. You can also take a look at the most popular story topics of the month, as rated by other ChannelCaster users.

Unfortunately, the app was slow when I tried it on my Galaxy Nexus, and I was disappointed that you can't actually read any news articles from within the app--you have to open them in your browser instead.

ChannelCaster: Social News by OneLouder Apps | Price: Free

Currently Tech News

If tech news is your preference, Currently Tech News will be your go-to app. It's set up like a leaderboard, with each story ranked according to its popularity. Popular stories will have upward-pointing arrows under their numbers, while less popular articles will have gray arrows pointing down.

The app refreshes automatically in the background, so you’ll never be without the hottest tech news for very long. Currently Tech News also lets you set up notifications that alert you when something big happens, even if the app isn’t open. Unlike Pulse and Google Currents, Currently doesn’t give you the option to choose your news sources--though the app seems to pull from all the major tech publications and websites, so that shouldn't be much of an issue.

Currently Tech News by Dujour Technology Pty Ltd | Price: Free

Feedly

Feedly is, in a word, superb. Also available on iOS, Feedly creates a personalized magazine that covers everything from serious topics like business, to more superfluous ones like celebrity gossip. Your magazine is divided into sections, with each section featuring its own cover story (much like a newspaper). If you are a Google Reader user, Feedly can create a personalized magazine based on your subscriptions. You can even share stories you find interesting by posting them to Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

My only gripe is that, while you can add news sources from within the app, most of the personalization options are available only through Feedly's website. If that doesn't bother you too much, then Feedly is one app you need to check out.

Feedly by Feedly Team | Price: Free

US Newspapers

One of the things I miss most from my youth is the time spent reading the paper on Sunday mornings (I was a weird kid). There's just something about digging through piles of advertisements while smelling the crisp smell of newsprint that set the stage for the rest of my day. Apart from actually subscribing to a newspaper, the closest I can probably get is the US Newspapers app.

US Newspapers comes prepopulated with a list of mainstream news outlets in the United States. So while you won't find the likes of PCWorld or Macworld in the app, you will find sources like the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune.

Vis-a-vis similar apps, US Newspapers is not terribly impressive. It's not much to look at, and clicking on a newspaper title will simply take you to that news organization's mobile site instead of to a listing of stories. Those looking for a more fleshed-out news aggregation app should look elsewhere--but US Newspapers is a great starter app for someone who wants to quickly browse through the headlines of the Washington Post or the San Jose Mercury News without having to type in the URLs themselves.

US Newspapers by Baris Efe | Price: Free

Taptu

Want complete control over your newsfeed? Taptu looks similar to Pulse, but has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. For starters, you can adjust the size of individual feeds, making certain ones appear more prominently than others. You can add and remove news sources at will and, as is the case with many other aggregator apps, you can import your feeds from Google Reader.

Taptu's StreamStore makes it easy to find more news sources and add them to your feeds. Have a bunch of feeds that cover the same topic? Taptu's "DJ" feature will let you merge multiple feeds into one, clearing up space for feeds on other topics. Taptu is a solid alternative to Pulse, and has excellent tools to help you manage multiple feeds without going crazy.

Taptu by Taptu | Price: Free

NewsRob (Google Reader/ RSS)

If you're serious about your Google Reader account but can't stand the official app, NewsRob may be more to your liking.

When you first open the app, NewsRob will ask for permission to access your Google Reader account. The app will work without a Google Reader account, but really works best if you have one already set up. Once you log in, the app will begin downloading all of the unread articles in your Google Reader feed. It strips articles of everything, save for images and text (for easier mobile reading), and it saves them for offline use as well. The app does have some ads, but you can remove them by upgrading to the pro version.

NewsRob (Google Reader/RSS) by Mariano Kamp | Price: Free, $5.99 for the Pro Version

gReader Pro (Google Reader)

Yet another Google Reader app, gReader Pro isn't a huge game-changer as far as Reader-compatible apps are concerned. Like NewsRob, gReader Pro syncs with your Google Reader account and can download individual articles for offline reading.

In addition to the traditional list view offered by the official Google Reader app, gReader Pro lets you view all your feeds in a much more visually appealing grid layout. One of my favorite features in gReader Pro is how it lets you use your phone's volume rocker to navigate between stories. You can search through individual subscriptions and save them to services like Instapaper and Read It Later.

gReader isn't as flashy as apps like Feedly or Taptu, but for getting through your Google Reader feeds, it's one of the best apps around.

gReader Pro (Google Reader) by noinnion | Price: $5.49

BaconReader

Although it's often associated with pictures of cats and other memes, Reddit can be a valuable source of international news and other stories you might not hear about otherwise. Since Reddit's mobile interface isn't the most ideal for browsing the site, apps like BaconReader can prove helpful in navigating around the site's various forums.

BaconReader works with your Reddit account, and it lets you subscribe to the Reddit forums (called "subreddits") that cover your interests. Subreddits exist for pretty much any topic you can think of, and BaconReader makes it easy to search for and subscribe to individual subreddits without ever having to leave the app.

A word of warning: Not everything on Reddit is family-friendly, so keep an eye out for the red "NSFW" tag while using BaconReader to help you avoid any adverse content.

BaconReader by OneLouder Apps | Price: Free