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Best Apps of 2012: Noteworthy News Apps for Android and iPhone

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Illustration: Kagan McLeod
Why read the paper when you can get news crafted especially for you? Thanks to your smartphone, you can keep up with current events no matter where you are. Here are the apps that let you consume news your way--giving you more of what you care about, and less of what you don’t.

Stitcher (free) Android | iOS
With more than 10,000 podcasts and radio shows to choose from on Stitcher, you’re bound to find something you like. The app can suggest stations based on topics that matter to you. For example, if you’re following the 2012 presidential election, you’ll appreciate Stitcher’s Election Center, where you can see which political issues are trending and hear podcasts that mention them.

1Weather (free) Android
The attractive 1Weather has more features than you can shake a windsock at. The app shows local conditions, forecasts for the week and for the next few hours, severe-weather alerts, and even the current lunar phase. Animations add to its charm, and an included widget displays a ton of information at a glance.

Editor's Pick (Android): Pocket
(free) Android | iOS
Formerly Read It Later, Pocket lets you save practically anything you can find online for offline viewing. The app makes articles easier to read, and it works with other apps such as Flipboard, Twitter, and Zite. Pocket is ideal for catching up on news during your commute or while you’re on a flight with no data connection.

Flipboard (free) iOS
In contrast to the magazine-style tablet version of Flipboard, the relatively new iPhone incarnation feels like a notepad full of interesting articles and captivating photos. It connects to your social media accounts and RSS feeds, aggregating that information, so you can browse your news and your Facebook feed without having to switch apps.

Instapaper ($3) Android | ($5) iOS
Like Pocket, Instapaper is great for reading articles when you lack Net access. You can view items posted by Facebook or Twitter pals, or the articles that most Instapaper users are reading. Since many other apps support Instapaper, you should have no trouble adding pages and articles to your Instapaper account.

Editor's Pick (iOS): Zite
(free) Android | iOS
Using your Google Reader or Twitter account, Zite builds a magazine based on your interests. You can add sections by selecting from a preset list of topics or by searching for a topic. The app becomes smarter the more you use it, learning about what you like to read. You can save any story for later by sending it to your Evernote, Instapaper, or Pocket account.

Pulse (free) Android | iOS
Big on RSS feeds? You can import your Google Reader account into Pulse, or manually add feeds using the app’s built-in search. The minimalistic design lets you browse headlines quickly, and clicking a story produces a clean version that’s easier to read on a phone. Pulse also allows you to organize and group your feeds.

Taptu (free) Android | iOS
Like Pulse, Taptu helps you read and subscribe to RSS feeds. You can import your Google Reader account or browse the StreamStore to find interesting feeds. If you have several feeds on the same topic, the DJ feature can merge them for easier consumption. You can share your streams via social networks, too.

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