I would describe this week’s App of the Week as one of the first 5 apps I tell people to install on their new Android phone. It does exactly what it was intended to do almost perfectly, and more. At $1.99, the app that can be installed on any Android phone, running any Android OS. The App of the Week this week is Pulse News Reader.
Pulse News Reader is your basic RSS app, and that is exactly why it works so well. It is laid out in a horizontal column style, displaying the stories in little boxes under their source’s name. When you first open the app, it has some preloaded sources featuring sites like Mashable, TechCrunch, and Gizmodo. You can then hit the menu button and it opens up the options. This consists of refresh, add source, manage sources, send feedback, and settings. I will go into what all of these do, except of course “refresh” and “send feedback” which are pretty self-explanatory.
The “add source” option takes you to a little search page. When you first get there you notice a pretty handy “Featured Sources” area. This has about 35 different sites in the categories of design, technology, celebrity, fashion, environment, music, sports, Sci Fi, automobile, gaming, finance, and comic. So from the very start they give you a pretty wide variety of sources to choose from. There is also a search bar at the top where you can enter anything your little heart desires. This can get you whatever you want, and that can sometimes cause a problem. For example, if you search “the droid guy” you get about 10 results. This requires you to do a little homework on which one you want, and it can be a little misleading. If you choose http://thedroidguy.com/ it is going to show up blank because that URL doesn’t get stories added to it; you have to choose http://thedroidguy.com/feed/ for you to get RSS updates from our site. The search works how it was intended; you just have to be sure you subscribe to the right URL.
The “manage sources” area is pretty simple—you manage your chosen sources. When you click manage sources you are taken to a screen showing you all the sources you are subscribed to. On the left there is an option to move the sources in the order you choose, and on the right there is a red “x” allowing you to remove the sources you no longer wish to receive stories from. This is pretty cool because you can put the sources in whatever order you want.
Next is the “Google reader” option. This allows you to import all of your Google reader sources into Pulse. Now, it is separate from the rest of your Pulse sources, but they are still there. To access your Google reader subscriptions you have to go to this every single time, but you still get to have your Google reader imported, which is a HUGE plus for most people.
When you go to the settings in the app there are only two options: background updates and update frequency. These let the app run in the background and pull stories from the sources at a certain interval. This is handy because it is kind of a pain to have to update the app every time you enter it. I haven’t experienced any problems with it not updating, and I also haven’t experiences a lot of battery usage from the app.
The interface of Pulse is really nice, and it pre-loads all of the stories native to the app, so there is usually not a long wait on opening a story. It opens the stories right in the app and lets you view them while offline as well. It looks just like it would if you opened it in a browser, and it is easy to read. When you open an article the source of that article goes to the bottom of the screen and lets you drag it up so you can view other stories from that specific source. There is also an option to share the stories with Twitter and Facebook which is another really cool feature.
Pulse News Reader is, in my opinion, the best RSS reader on the market and I recommend it to anyone who uses RSS. It does everything I want it to and more, and that is why I have chosen Pulse News Reader to be this week’s App of the Week. If you have any questions, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check the video below to see Pulse in action.