Struggling to get over Google Reader? Need an alternative to Feedly?
There are many news reader apps for Android that enable you to catch up with the latest news in your area of interest. Here we look at five great apps that offer curated content and customizable news sources for your phone or tablet.
Find out which we think is the best of the bunch!
What To Look For In A News Reader App
RSS is dying. While it might hang around as a service used by website editors to manage newsletters or keep up to date with other sites, it has, on the whole, been superseded by social sharing (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and curated content.
Whether Google was being prescient with its culling of Google Reader, or whether they simply wanted to drive that area of technology forward, is a question we’ll probably never know the answer to. The end of Google Reader has had an effect on the news reader apps that are available, however, with many of those we assessed in early 2013 now no longer available.
Happily, others have come along to replace them, and we’ve gathered the top five choices (which also happen to be free) here to help you decide which one to use.
Each app is rated out of five, based on the depth of features, ease of setup, usability, and quality of news.
Despite the scandal that rocked Feedly early in 2014, it remains a hugely popular choice.
This shouldn’t be a surprise: Feedly delivers curated news as well as material from the RSS feeds and websites that you specify (it usually finds the RSS feed for you, removing the potential challenge of finding, then copying and pasting it into the app).
Feedly can share to Instapaper and Pocket, as well as any apps with sharing capabilities on your device. Adding and removing news sources is simple, and Feedly also provides support for Google News alerts and YouTube content.
You’ll find no flash features or pointless add-ons with Flym News Reader, just a slightly silly name and a choice of curated content by topic and the ability to add RSS feeds.
However, the app is wholly competent, offering the ability to set posts as favourites, to share with compatible apps on your device, and a fullscreen mode.
A choice of themes are available, as is a WiFi-only refresh. If you want to keep your curated news reading simple but up-to-date, Flym should be your choice.
Perhaps one of the most visually stunning apps on Google Play, Flipboard pretty much does exactly what the title says: you flip through a virtual pin board of news items, selected from the app’s wide range of categories. It’s available on phones and tablets, and the tablet version even has a dedicated interface so that it doesn’t look like a blown-up phone version.
For added connectivity to the most current and relevant news, the app also provides support for your Twitter and Facebook feeds, while LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and many other networks are supported.
Like Feedly, navigation through this app is almost entirely by swiping up, with long previews of the news items giving you plenty of opportunity to decide whether to read now, ignore, or save for later, which you do by tapping the + symbol and “flipping” the item into your own custom magazine.
Magazines can be shared online, and contributors are invited! Flipboard’s slick presentation and vast selection of features mean it has a lot going for it beyond the basic features we’re looking for here, but if you are yet to try it, we recommend you do so soon.
Perhaps a surprise entrance on this list, Digg was once best known as a sort of proto-Reddit, a source for all the best stuff on the web. And then, for some reason only the people at the top were aware of, this changed.
Fortunately in its new guise, Digg is regaining its lost ground and this app is one of the pinnacles of its renaissance. To say that this piece of software is surprising is a bit of an understatement. Adding a feed is a case of entering a URL or selecting from the topics already provided, and with your content setup you can Digg things you enjoy, just like the old days.
What is clear from Digg, however, is that the quality of curation is noticeably better than the other apps. You get the feeling that the articles have been read and approved by a human, rather than being featured because they meet the parameters of an algorithm. Add some polished, minimalist presentation, bookmarking and the usual sharing options, and Digg is potentially the best news reader available.
In fact, I may have just found a new favourite app.
Another good choice is Flyne, which marries a great user interface with a good selection of sources and categories.
The app is let down somewhat because you need to pay for the upgrade to access Twitter and Feedly integration (features you’ll find free in other apps listed here), but that depends on whether you want free or paid apps, really.
Presentation of the news feeds isn’t a million miles from using the Android Twitter app, and items you enjoy can of course be saved for later or shared.
Configurable display options such as a night mode theme and font options are also available, while the offline reading makes Flyne a very useful news reader if Internet connectivity isn’t forthcoming (perhaps on a train or flight).
The Winner Is…
If you want a lot of news from the specific sources you rely on, then Feedly is your answer. Need slick presentation with a smaller number of sources? Use Flipboard.
Flym Feeds is useful, while Flyne’s offline support makes it a useful “plan B” solution when news is needed but you have no Internet connection.
However, if you want to find surprising news on topics you’re interested in but pulled in from other sources that you wouldn’t usually have visited, Digg is the answer.
Which Is Your Favorite?
Do you use one of these apps, or do you have another favorite news reader? Let us know in the comments!