Apps For News
No shortage of news apps for tablets exists these days. So if you like to read from more than two or three trusted sources, or you just want digital versions of your favorite print titles, there's an app for you.
Google Currents (iOS, Android)
Google Currents lets you read news in two different ways--via its Library, where you can pick from a variety of sources providing content optimized for the app and arranged in a magazine layout, or via its Trending News, which is like a Google News firehouse, based on popular topics at any given time. The Library mode is more appealing over the Trending News mode, because it provides the full text of a story, streamlined in the app. In Trending News you get only an excerpt. Although no Facebook or Twitter integration exists beyond sharing stories, Currents lets you add your Google Reader RSS feeds and follow stories shared by select 'curators' on Google+, such as Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki.
Flipboard is probably the most pleasant-to-use news magazine app. You get to flick between a wide selection of sources on all general interest topics, and many of them offer reformatted content especially for Flipboard, which makes an easy read. Flipboard is well-integrated with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Instagram, so all of your friends' updates will be displayed in a sleek magazine format. And Google Reader integration means you can invite all your RSS feeds to the reading party. Flipboard, though, doesn't allow fine-tuning of article selection by vetoing subtopics or sources, as Zite and Editions do.
Flipboard for iPhone and iPad is free to download.
SkyGrid (iOS, Android)
SkyGrid allows you to aggregate news from several broad categories, such as business and travel, into a scrollable grid with images and headlines. You can choose to get news on general topics such as football and certain teams, or follow specific sources indexed in SkyGrid's sizeable database (just don't expect to find your favorite obscure blog). SkyGrid is a nice way to scan the day's events, but it's not the place for in-depth news: For most articles you'll have to visit a Webpage to read beyond a brief excerpt.
Pulse (iOS, Android)
Pulse gathers content from popular websites and displays them in a sleek interactive mosaic. You can select topics, sources, or packs (groups of sources on the same general topic), and each story is presented in a stripped-down text mode (which works great with around half of the sources) or via the original web page. Pulse can integrate with your Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit accounts and also with Google Reader, acting as an RSS feed reader.
Editions by AOL (iPad)
AOL's Editions delivers every day, at the time of your choice, a personalized magazine filled only with stories about topics you choose. You initially pick several broad categories you are interested in, and you can fine-tune Edition's automatic selection by vetoing sources or topics covered in any story. Editions arranges stories in a magazine format, and does not provide a stripped-down text version of any story. Editions has a few nice touches, such as personalized weather forecasts and event reminders from your calendar. By linking to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, it's also able to include stories shared by your friends and improve story discovery by scanning brands you follow or like.
Editions by AOL for iPad is free to download.
If you follow a bunch of interesting people on Twitter, who share stories you enjoy, then News.me can collate those stories into a streamlined magazine. The main page of the app will highlight stories it thinks you will find interesting from your Twitter stream. The stories are presented in an optimized text and images view (or on the original site). The top bar shows you a list of people you follow, who are also using News.me, and you can see their customized feeds by tapping on their photos. One particularly nifty feature in News.me is that you can read more story text beyond the excerpt, right in your stream, by "unpinching."
News.me for iPad is free to download.
Zite (iOS, TouchPad)
Like Editions, Zite is a personalized magazine, aggregating stories that you might find of interest. Zite tops Editions, though, with its streamlined text and image view and more granular control over sources, authors, and topics. The recommendation engine on Zite is a quick learner by tapping into your Google Reader and Twitter history. Zite is also continually updated every time you open the app, so stories are always fresh.
Zite for iPhone and iPad is free to download.
Livestand from Yahoo! (iPad)
Yahoo's Livestand app brings together repackaged content from select sources, arranged on a virtual stand. Livestand is a novel way to browse topics covered by the included publishers, and can serve the family iPad with support for up to four different profiles. Livestand's got a few problems though--it's confusing to browse between articles, titles, your library, and Personal Mix, which is a headline breakdown from your favorite websites (which you have to choose manually). It's also missing Twitter and Facebook integration for stories shared by your friends.
Livestand from Yahoo! for iPad is free to download.
Zinio (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
Zinio is for print magazine lovers who want a digital version of their favorite magazines (such as PCWorld). You can purchase single issues as well as yearlong subscriptions of just about any magazine on Zinio. The only drawback is that most of the issues purchased on Zinio are just PDF replicas of the print edition--not interactive tablet versions of the magazine. This means the text can be too small to read in some layouts, and you'll have to zoom and pan a lot--though many titles come with a text-only version of articles for easy reading.
Vodio is like Flipboard for videos. You link your Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube accounts and the app displays popular videos across different channels, ranging from comedy to news, sports, and viral videos that you can watch right in the app. You can give the thumbs up or down to any video and Vodio will learn to suggest other videos you might be interested in. The interface is fluid and Vodio can be a great way to sit back and watch the news in video, or catch up with the latest kitten videos shared by your friends.
Vodio for iPad is free to download.
What's your favorite news magazine app and why?
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