Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

Review: News360

In a world where mobile phone manufactures are slinging their dirty laundry around the courts of the world because lets face it most Smartphones look the same. It’s refreshing to see that innovation still runs supreme in some areas of the tech industry. The Humble RSS reader on the Tablet is still running strong and still providing us our dose od daily digital news. Interestingly considering the simplistic nature of the data being fed into them very few look alike.

For a while now on the iPad especially Flipboard has been the cock of the roost showing the world just how to display data and social feeds in a way many “Digital Magazines” should be following rather than just the bland PDF Files with Links effort most of them want you to spend money on. No doubt about it Flipboard is one of the best and does a nice job of not only displaying the data but sharing it as well

Yesterday a contender for the Flipboard crown put a major release across IOS and Android platforms and in doing so has proven that you don’t need to copy some one to be successful there are other ways of innovating and providing good interfaces.

News360 has stepped up to the plate with this latest release in providing not just the stories in your RSS or Google Reader feed, but providing the news around the news. Thats the idea with this new interface lift News360 isn’t just providing you with a flat display of your chosen news feeds, it is looking to provide you with stories related to what you are reading from other sources so you get a better idea of the whole story not just from a single location.

When you first start up the app on IOS or Android you get a simple setup screen News360 supplies a handful of popular news topics like Politics, Technology or Photography among others, then you link into your Social Media via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and can select popular topics extracted from the feed information. Finally you can add your Google Reader Feed and select sources from there.

The last screen sets up places you can export the data to such as Evernote, Pocket and Instapaper I was particularly glad for the Evernote export. Once thats all done you’re good to go and are presented with the home screen.

The default home screen breaks down to top stories in squares which scroll left to right on the tablet screen and at the top of the screen is a toolbar which holds the individual feeds you selected before.

Each one of the news feed squares is actually a cube and this is one aspect where the redesign has made great use of touch technology. The cube can be spun on the horizontal axis and in doing so you can save the story and select that you like the story using a Facebook like thumbs up icon.

From here you can also share the story on any of the social networks you previously setup, however while facebook does the sharing in app the Google+ share does take you out of the app and into G+ via the Tablets web browser. While that isn’t a huge pain what it does remind me is just how poor googles Web Tablet interface is..

Keep flicking the cube and you get a list of available sources for the story or similar stories and finally you get a excerpt of the story on the cube without a picture on it.

This is a wel thought out feature if you do share a lot of the content you see within the RSS Feeds.

Selecting a story from the home screen brings up a new look display for the story and within here we get a view of the headlines text and alternative sources for the story. There is also a mini view of the actual webpage the story comes from.

The text size can be changed and again you can rate and share the story from within this view what i have noted is while Flipboard doesn’t handle the data streams too well when the 3G breaks up on the iPad the stories start to fragment very quickly. As News360 is showing what appears to be more of the story it doesn’t quite seem so noticeable.

Also from within the story you can open in app the original source webpage the story comes from using the Continue Reading button. This is a really nice touch and presented really well.

One final feature worth mentioning is the data gathering which news360 is doing, and i don’t mean that in  a bad way, they describe it as.

The more you read the more personalized News360 will get

for you — our app will learn from your reading habits to present the most relevant content.

Basically as time goes by if you flag and star stories you’ll find the news getting more and more customised to your taste and the stories you like. I personally don’t like that idea so much as i like to see all aspects of the news however I’m interested to see what gets flagged over time.

So what we have here is a rather nice rewrite, news360 was just an average news app before this updates has i belive put it into the same ballpark as Flipboard and competition is a good thing its another example of an App which works well across multiple platforms and even has a web plugin should you want to setup an account and see if it gives feedly a run for its money. Great work.. Can’t wait to see what is next.


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This entry was posted on September 12, 2012 by in Android, ipad, Tablets and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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