Top 5 Android News Applications

Our world has quickly become a mobile world. Tweets can start a revolution, pictures can be uploaded instantaneously, and news can be broadcasted across the world in minutes. But how does one keep with all of the news that is occurring? In this article, I shall talk about five Android news apps that I use and I will talk about what I like about them, and dislike. (I use Samsung Galaxy S III so I will be using it as my reference.)
1.     Flipboard (Free)
Possibly the most popular of the five, Flipboard takes all of your news topics and puts it into one nice and clean format. You have to make an account with Flipboard, but once made, you can favorite and save stories for later. Like the name suggests, the user is able to “flip” through various topics by swiping their finger up. Once they select a topic, they can swipe through articles within that topic until they find one that they find interesting. The sources that are given for each topic are reputable sources such as ABC News, BBC and CNN for business, and Game Spot, Game Informer, and Polygon for gaming. . In addition, one can click on the topic at the top of the page in order to filter out sources they do not wish to read. The process of doing this is much cleaner and easier in comparison to the other apps in this article. One of the main things I like about Flipboard is the user interface. It is clutter free and there aren’t twenty things thrown at you at once. The interface is actually quite simple and clean cut, something I feel other interfaces lack. It could be compared to the Windows 8 OS in terms of the panel system.
Another huge thing that Flipboard has is the ability to integrate you Twitter and Facebook accounts to it, causing them to become a panel of their own. It shows your news feed at a glance, but once you click on the panel, you have the option to post, view pictures and messages (from Facebook) and other features the social networks offer. The issue I find with this is that the application runs slow when utilizing the social network panels. It is very sluggish and not as clean as I would like it to be for the social networks. They only show three posts per ‘screen’, but to be honest, if a one wanted to view their Facebook feed, they should use Facebook.
I like the overall presentation of the UI and how clean it looks. I do not really use this application much, as you will later read, but I would give it a good 8/10. I dock two points for the social networks because I believe that if a company or business includes a feature into their application, it should work.
2. Google Currents (Free)
The beloved side bark makes navigation
a cinch
When it comes to anything technology related, Google will most likely have an app for it. Google Currents is essentially a virtual magazine, where news topics are listed and provided in a seamless manner. Thanks to the ease of Currents, you can sync your Gmail account to it so that you can save articles for later. What I like about news applications such as Google Currents is the left hand menu bar. These bars make it easy for me personally to navigate the page and select what I want to read. Under each topic are all the sources the user has selected, with the option to customize it as well to remove or add any sources. A cool feature that is just for Google Current so far is the “Breaking News” section for each selected topic. As the name suggests, this source is able to provide most recent articles within a topic. This is useful for the people who just want to read a quick article or two, without a specific source in mind such as Gizmodo or CNN.
The User Interface for Google Currents is one of my favorites out of the five. It is extremely clean and fluid. There is no useless clutter or distractions, just a simple swipe down interface. Placing one’s finger on the edge of the screen and then swiping can help switch between publishers, a feature I like since I don’t have to repetitively go back to the menu every ten seconds. You can also sync stories to your account for offline reading. This is super useful for a lot of people who go on trains and work where there might not always be a good wifi or data connection. 
I would honestly rate Google Currents a 9.5/10. It is an incredibly fast application that works fluidly and dare I say- perfectly. Currents is so organized that I was able to figure everything about the application within two minutes.
                                                      
3. Pulse News (Free)
This is the application that I mainly use, but I will openly admit that other apps I have listed are better for their own reasons. The app in context here is Pulse news. I came across Pulse news while looking for a news application that compiled all the news I wanted. It was the first news application I downloaded and I continue to use it solely on the fact that it has desktop integration as well. What I mean by that is I can go on Pulse news on my laptop, sign into my account, and read the articles that I have saved or bookmarked for later. Although it defeats the point of using a phone for news, it is super useful to me, a person who uses their phone about 30% of the time, and laptop 70% of the time. Saving articles is a breeze, and they can be viewed later offline is needed. Like Google Currents, it has the left menu bar, a feature that I am very fond of and like for its organization
Adding content is easy as well. All you have to do is click the customize button, select the web source (Apple, Wall Street Journal, Home and Garden etc.) and then select which category you would like to place it in. Although the process is easy, it is one of my biggest issues with this application. I wish it was similar to Google Currents in which you have a wide variety of sources under the topic, as opposed to being given every possible source and you having to place them in their respectful topic or category. On more than one occasion, I have accidently put a tech source in the politics section and had to go delete it.
Practically infinite scroll…
for the win!
Despite all of that, Pulse has other attractive features such as the source layout within a given topic. It shows the source and then has a side scroll display for the articles, as opposed to the larger design of applications such as Flipboard and Currents. You can swipe left and right between articles and you can go very far back in the sources’ history, a feature I like. Usually with news applications, an article becomes old news fast and it is a nuisance to find it again. With Pulse, I can just swipe right to find an article from two days ago to show my friend, or to re-read. Pulse also offers the “read on the web’ button at the bottom of most of their articles. This allows the reader to go to the website that originally posted the article, within Pulse, in order to get a better view, and to also read the comments. For me, comments are somewhat important because it is interesting to hear what other people have to say on a topic, especially if they have more experience in the field.
Although Pulse News has a few downsides, it is my favorite news application to use for its compactness and little features. Google Currents may have a neater, cleaner presentation of their news articles, but Pulse News has never let me down, and it always keeps me up to date on gaming and tech news. I would give Pulse a 7.5/10, it could get a higher rating it if it was slightly faster, (comparing to Currents, although Pulse probably doesn’t have as large of a monetary backing as Currents would), and if it organized itself better in the categorization process.
4. NPR News (Free)
NPR’s basic UI and top down menu
Probably the most basic out of the five is NPR News. It essentially only has one screen, no excess swiping, no clutter no colorful design or layout, just a list of stories based off the topic selected at the top. A really neat feature this app offers is the ability to search terms. On most news websites, you are able to search for an articles based off of keywords or a given set of time. You may have read an article about Congress that you would like to re read again. This feature within NPR news makes it possible.
Similar to Pulse News, NPR allows the user to load more stories, and thus, going back in time to read past news stories. Due to the lack of major features, NPR doesn’t have a lot I can discuss about. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It is very well organized, and the features it does have are very well refined. 
I would give this application a 6.5 out of 10, purely because I feel it has the potential to offer the reader more features. It could offer you to “like” stories so that you can easily find stories you were interested in. They could also offer more topics so that they could get a wider audience. It is a very solid application, but there is room for improvement.
5. BBC New (Free)
I figured I would wrap up this article by discussing a news application that follows an actual news broadcasting company. This was the first new application I used when I wanted to read the news. I tried using CNN, but I did not like the interface too much. BBC, like NPR news, is as simple as it gets. Like a few other of the new applications that were made by news broadcasting stations such as ABC or CNN, BBC News offers the alert feature which sends you alerts with breaking news. It is useful if you are trying to keep up with a national case or anything that happens around the world such as a tsunami or an earthquake.
BBC New’s UI is similar to
Pulse News, but with a twist
The news is divided into categories that can be edited seamlessly through pressing the edit button on the top right corner of the application. The User Interface is similar to Pulse News in the sense that the articles are set in a side-scrolling fashion with little rectangles that are the articles. BBC also has one insanely cool feature that sets them apart from everyone else, you can send an article to them. Yes that is right, you can write your own article and send it to BBC news. Whether they post the article or publicize is up to them, but this is a way for you to interact with a large media corporation such as BBC news. BBC news also provides the user with the feature to select how frequently BBC refreshes its news. I personally have it set to an hour (the lowest denomination of time they allow) so that I can read news offline if needed since the articles are updated.
BBC takes what features they have uses it to their maximum potential, and for that, I would rate BBC a 7/10. The application overall is very clear and concise and even easier to navigate then Google Currents believe it or not.




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