Whether you’re reading a riveting novella, an insightful piece of long-form journalism, or the latest post from your favourite blogger, the written word has the ability to capture the imagination and make long, tedious journeys just slip away. In modern times, though, reading has become more than just words on a page or screen. A plethora of apps is available to make books more social, and news better suited to your interests.
To narrow down your options only to those that are worthy of a download, I’ve compiled a list of the most innovative social reading and news recommendation apps that the Play Store has to offer.
How many different ways do you have to get in touch with the people you know? Just from your phone you could call them, send a text message, email, instant message through the likes of Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, chat via Skype, send a tweet and much, much more.
Obviously, not everyone you know will be using all of these services and if you want to contact a particular friend, you may find that you end up hunting through various apps to pick the best method of communication. All of this comes to a stop the moment you install CallApp.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you’ve heard of reddit – a social news site that thrives on user generated content and conversations. “redditors” submit links, images or simply text messages on subsets of the site called sub-reddits, and earn points based on how many up or down votes the story gets. The conversations on reddit are probably some of the best on the web and are the reason the site has millions of users completely hooked.
Although reddit clients were a little slow coming to Android – I struggled to find a few good ones just last year – the scenario is quite the opposite now and one is spoilt for choice when it comes to getting the reddit dose on an Android phone or tablet. Here’s my list of some of the best reddit clients on Android, and although all of these apps are free and mostly ad-supported, I’ve included links to their pro versions whenever available.
Over the last couple of years that I’ve had a smartphone, I’ve steadily moved my news reading routine from the desktop over to the phone. It wasn’t the best of experiences on the tiny screen of my old LG Optimus One, but the HD screen on the Galaxy Nexus does make it extremely good at scanning through a news article so I can decide whether to mark it to read later on a bigger screen.
The other big change in news consumption over the last couple of years has been the shift from traditional RSS readers to dedicated apps that do a much better job of collating and presenting updates. While Flipboard took its own sweet time to arrive on Android, a host of competing services – including one from Google – attempted to grab and lock in those users looking for a simple, elegant yet gorgeous way to consume their daily dose of content updates.
Having played around with a bunch of these apps, I’ll share my take on how they work out for me. I’ll avoid the usual RSS readers and Google Reader front-ends here, and go with the top three — in my opinion — dedicated news reading apps on Android at this moment: Flipboard, Google Currents & Pulse. Rather than talk about each app individually, I’ll discuss how they all fare on some of the most important features.
Pop-up notifications have been part of third party messaging apps like GoSMS Pro and Handcent and although they might serve their purpose, they’re not exactly ground-breaking, nor are they applicable to other applications.
Enter Pops, which takes notifications to a whole new level with artsy, animated pop-ups unlike any other. It falls well in the fun side of Android, by combining basic functionality and advanced customization with the simple event of receiving and sending messages — SMS but also email, Twitter or Facebook messages.
Social networking is often used to record events that have already happened, or things that are currently taking place. Facebook lets you share your thoughts, ideas and photos with your friends, while Foursquare can be used to build up a record of the places you have visited.
Google Schemer is a little different as it enables you to plan for the future. This does not mean building up a to-do list of chores you need to complete, but compiling a list of things you would like to do – fun activities, dream, adventures and more.
Whatever your game is – NBA, Premier League, rugby, cricket, hockey, or almost anything else – PlayUp can connect you to other fans so you can chat about the game, celebrate victories, and commiserate brutal defeats. It also serves up live scores and stats, to keep you up to date.
Foursquare lets you view your friends’ opinions on various stores, restaurants, and other types of attractions. Its main function is to help you find new and exciting places to visit, and to discover what your friends think about them. This app takes the popular check-in feature of Facebook and brings it to a whole new level.
The most well-known feature of Foursquare is how it lets you earn points and badges for checking in and posting comments. This, in turn, can lead to discounts offered exclusively to Foursquare users. It also has the ability to determine which one of your friends are near you or doing similar things, making it a perfect tool for keeping in touch with your friends and what they are doing.
Put simply: Bacon Reader is a great app for browsing Reddit.
Its well-designed interface is what really sets it apart from the other Reddit apps for Android. The attention to detail is astounding, and welcomed on an app I use so much. The level of thought put into the app has allowed it to make browsing Reddit a much nicer experience than on the reddit.com site itself!
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