Four years ago I had the idea to build a blog network dedicated to reviewing and rounding up apps. We started with Mac apps and then quickly expanded to additional channels covering iOS, Android, Windows and Web apps. While the network has been successful in traffic and audience, reaching some 100m+ visitors over the four years, it’s ultimately not fit within our broader company mission. So I’m here today to announce that unfortunately after four years of app guidance, we’re closing AppStorm down.
The new version of Android, KitKat, is very different from previous ones in that it requires less processing power to run. This means that cheaper devices or legacy Android phones will be able to update to a new, shiny OS for free. This might seem like a bold move by Google to protect their operating system’s market share, but in reality, it means so much more.
It means that “The Next Billion”, those who will become smartphone users in the years 2014/15, will stand a greater chance of owning an Android device. As these future droid fans are from the developing nations with different cultures and socio-economic background, their smartphone usage diverges vastly from consumers in western, developed nations.
Furthermore, their lives will be fundamentally changed by the incumbent smartphone ownership. Far more than being just a status symbol or the latest gadget, a $150 device could change a person’s path in life, increase their economic power and free them from oppression or poverty. Here’s how KitKat will kickstart this change.
The personalization of news is a nice idea. It should strip out unrequired stories, leaving behind only those pieces of writing that excite, educate or entertain — AppStorm posts, for instance.
But in my experience, most tailored news apps tend to be a bit…meh. They certainly filter, but rarely with the desired result. Some try to sort stories by keyword — always an inaccurate, spam-ridden approach — while others simply provide broad brushstroke subjects, gathering plenty of content you would otherwise avoid.
So, I’m interested to see how Material, an app which claims to deliver news that is tailored to each user, copes with this challenge. The product of an accomplished developer (Inq), Material has recently been updated with a sleek new design and a batch of new features; critically, though, can it deliver a great mix of content?
Breaking news is, perhaps, the foremost staple of connected computing, mobile or otherwise. If our interconnectedness isn’t for receiving the latest, then what is it for? Pretty much every smartphone owner has some method or other of staying up to date, whether by app, by browser, or by Twitter.
Given how much time we spend away from our desktops, however, it seems strange that news is produced in a format that is specifically designed for the large screen. At best, mobile users get a simplified design, but that doesn’t change the underlying content, which is often far too in-depth to provide an on-the-go summary of events.
The creators of Circa realized this. They realized it at least 12 months ago, in fact, and their app has been serving the folks on iOS with human-edited news, broken down into bite-sized chunks, ever since. Now, Circa’s flavour of précis-based reporting has arrived on Android – but can such simplified reporting really quench our thirst for news?
Digg had been stagnating over the past few years. The site’s previous owners weren’t investing the time or effort in updating the systems or design and users rapidly fled to Reddit and Twitter for their news fix. However, new Digg owners at Betaworks have launched a long waited for Digg app for Android.
The app, which brings the web’s news aggregator to smartphones goes head to head with several other RSS readers that promote popular news stories such as Feedly and Pulse. Initial impressions are good as the app mirrors the look and functionality of the Digg website. Set-up time is extremely fast as it pulls your preferences from your current Digg account. But has Digg done enough to entice users?
It is blatantly apparent that journalism is no longer an exclusive vocation. Anyone can become a respected expert simply by publishing a successful blog, and on-the-ground news gathering is now open to any individual equipped with a smartphone. Even traditional professional media outlets are now moving with the times and embracing the phone; the Chicago Sun-Times recently replaced its entire photography department by making iPhones standard issue among its reporters.
There is a difference, however, between the simplistic recording of current events, and great journalism. Truly to captivate a reader, listener, or viewer, a journalist must tell a story and provide a coherent narrative. In most cases, the ability to do this is not a talent, but rather, a learned skill. How much better, then, would Average Joe’s news gathering be if he were to learn this skill? Significantly so, in all likelihood.
That is the idea behind Storymaker, a new Android offering which aims to educate everyone in the art of capturing and presenting the stories around them. This beta app provides a library of tutorials, and pre-built cookie cutter stories to build your report around. The concept is an interesting one, but can an app really turn us all into high class correspondents? Let’s find out…
Over the past two weeks, we focused on making the sync process between your iOS and Android devices as easy as possible. We started by looking at keeping email, contacts and calendar data sync’ed, before recommending various solutions to replicate media content across devices.
This week we’ll take a more general approach and suggest various applications and services that save your content in the cloud and synchronize it transparently across devices and platforms. Whether you read articles and books on various phones and tablets, or need your notes and tasks sync’ed or simply want to keep track of your expenses across platforms, we’ve got the right apps for you!
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the iPad version of USA Today on our sister site iPad.Appstorm, stating that the latest version of the app was really well designed, feature-rich, and user-friendly. I also made mention of the fact that I don’t use too many news apps, instead opting for a news organization’s Twitter feed or the like. However, I use more news/feed apps on my Nexus 7 than on my iPad — Press, anyone? — and USA Today has a brand new app for Android that’s fantastic.
The Android operating system is scattered with news apps. There seems to be hundreds to choose from and most times, we don’t really know which one is the best for our needs. Last month at Android.Appstorm, we looked at the 40 Best News Apps For Tablets and covered a wide range of news genres. Today, we’ll be looking at News, a holo-designed client for Google News.
News will definitely catch your eye. Whether because of its desirable features or its appealing UI, it has the potential to become the only news apps you’ll ever need again.
Nowadays, the majority of us have moved away from the traditional newspaper and started using the internet to get updated on the latest happenings in politics, business, entertainment and other fields. Our current generation would rather read an electronic copy than the paper, but a phone’s screen is too small, therefore anyone who has a tablet prefers using that for their daily dose of news.
In this roundup, I’ll cover my favorite news apps which are optimized for Android tablets. These are distributed into five different topics: General News, Regional News, Tech, Lifestyle, and News Aggregators.