Hitpad takes a different approach to its already popular rivals like Flipboard and Pulse, which depend more on user-generated or personalised content. Instead, Hitpad instantly provides you with content based on what is currently making headlines, aggregating that content from various sources and in different formats. Is this enough to make Hitpad your main news source? Probably not, but it definitely deserves a place in your arsenal of free news apps, to be used alongside other apps.
When you first launch the app, it will prompt you to turn push notifications on if you so choose.
The app takes a cue from Twitter, offering trending topics in each of the available categories. You can even refresh these topics using the pull down to refresh method. The information available itself is divided into several formats – News, Tweets, Videos, Web and Photos.
Categories included in the app include Top Stories, Entertainment, Technology, US news, Sports and Business. And of course you can search for any given keyword or topic of your choice.
Under the settings, you can connect your Facebook, Twitter or Instapaper accounts.
After doing so, with each item, regardless of category, you can easily share the links on Twitter and Facebook, after connecting your accounts in the app’s settings. You can also save them to Instapaper.
Other ways in which you can interact with the content include copying the link to your clipboard, emailing the item, or opening it in Safari.
When it comes to videos, you can play YouTube videos directly within the app.
Functionality was clearly high on the developer’s list. Not only do they offer the pull to refresh option, you can also swipe images to scroll back and forth between the search results.
With news stories and web results, each item is accompanied by a short introduction. If you want to read the full item or post, you can click read more and the full story will open up in the app’s in-built browser.
Hitpad is bound to be popular with people who don’t necessarily have the time to keep up with the latest news and stories making the rounds. Instead, they can depend on the app to deliver the most popular stories, so you’ll never feel left out of the loop.
As an app that focused on topical news, there are a few features that could be integrated to widen its scope of users. For example, while you can search for news and keep up with trending topics, you can’t save searches or keywords to come back to them on a regular basis. For someone who might need to keep track of their brand online, the addition of this small feature would make Hitpad an invaluable app to take with them on the go wherever they are.
What’s your favourite free iPad news app? Let us know in the comments.