Tag Archives: android

Best News Apps for Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is one of the best devices to read anything on. There are a number of news reading apps for Android. I’m going to rundown three of the best for the Nexus 7: Google Currents, Feedly, and Flipboard.

Google Currents

unnamed_currentsCurrents comes preloaded on the Nexus and is made by Google. It has a minimal design, but still very “Holo” looking. The top half of the home screen is a slide show of top stories of your subscriptions. The bottom is just a grid of icons. Click on one and you get a nice magazine layout, three articles to a page. Of course, this depends on what the author chooses, but that’s what it is for most. Because it’s on Android, it takes advantage of the enormous share menu.

Pros

  • Minimal and clean interface
  • Lots of popular blogs free to subscribe to.
  • Each article is nicely formatted. It’s up to each producer to customize their content, but no matter what each looks nice.
  • Blogs that aren’t featured sources can be added through a search or via your own Google Reader subscriptions.

Cons

  • So far, the only news app that doesn’t organize content by category. Also, compared to the others, it doesn’t easily show top news stories at a quick glance. The slide show it does have isn’t very helpful.
  • Also the only one that doesn’t have a widget. I find those handy, again at a quick glance.

Bottom Line

I really want to like Currents. It’s nice to read, but I feel like I have to go out of my way to even open it. The other apps I reviewed all have easy ways into the app, like widgets and top story filtering. It seems as though Google made the app with big dreams for its future and just forgot about it.

Google Currents on Google Play

Flipboard

unnamedflipboard

If you haven’t heard about this one, I want to know where you’ve been. A practically necessary app for the iPad. It was exclusively available for the Samsung Galaxy SIII then opened up for all Android soon after. I wonder about this: it started as an iPad app, then it was ported to Android for phones. Then it was available for the iPhone. Yet there is no native Android tablet version. Either way it doesn’t look bad on the 7″ screen.

Pros

  • The real reason Flipboard is such an amazing app is that it combines almost every social network you could have (Twitter, Google+, Google Reader, Tumblr, Instagram, more) and pulls the content from links and pictures. Combine that with a beautiful magazine-like flipping gesture and an easy to access “Cover Stories” section.
  • Sizable home screen widget.
  • Curated feed bundles by topic and certain cities.
  • Some podcast feeds.

Cons

  • Inconsistent content viewing. I don’t know what it’s like on an iPad, but since the format was made for a smaller phone screen, the article views are odd. Some sources use the flipping animation. Some just open up a web page within the app. Sometimes the font is small, sometimes big, sometimes serif fonts, sometimes sans.

Bottom Line

I have a love/hate relationship with Flipboard. The design is great and I love seeing all my social feeds in one place. Not to mention the fact that the Facebook integration is so much better than the actual Facebook app. But, for my money (they’re all free), other apps handle news better.

Flipboard on Google Play

Feedly

mobile-homeFeedly is actually a front-end for Google Reader with both a desktop app (via browser addon) and mobile apps. Because it syncs with Google Reader, all the apps sync with each other. The app is simple to use. It takes advantage of gestures and has read later app integration. Pocket is my app of choice. If a link is tapped, it opens up a browser in the app, then an option to de-clutter the web page appears, which allows just text to be read.

Pros

  • Home Screen Widget. The beta version is an improvement, and that should show up in the next update of the app.
  • Web app syncing.
  • Easy to read top/new stories
  • Pre-bundled subscriptions by topic for new users.

Cons

  • It maybe just me, but every so often, the app freezes up and registers a long press without my finger. The long press bookmarks an article. So, afterwards, I have to clean up my Pocket queue.
  • The app also logs me out of my Google account every now and then.

    unnamed

Bottom Line

This is my favorite news reader. I’ve been using Google Reader as my RSS feed reader for years and this app makes it usable and pretty, on both my browser and my device. It has a few annoyances, but the benefits far outweigh them.

Feedly on Google Play

Now, I know I missed some like Google’s actual Google Reader App, Pulse News, and others. If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments.

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My NanoWrimo Survival Kit

Apparently, these are things. So here’s mine.

Laptop

Modest 12″ Samsung “Princeton”. Basically, it’s a MacBook Air competitor before Intel came up with the idea of an “UltraBook.” Running Ubuntu, but I’ll be writing all my stuff in Google Drive.

Nexus 7 Android Tablet

Second screen and perfect for reading and proofreading my work. Also, games for distractions.

Cheap composition notebook and black Pilot gel pen

My particular notebook was made out of sustainable sugarcane, $3. And those are my absolute favorite pens.

Google Drive

See above. For something this sensitive, I’d rather it be stored automatically in the cloud.

Coffee and my giant writer’s mug

Frankly any caffeine will do, but coffee is my drink of choice. Black, bitter, very hot and very cheap. Dash of cinnamon for flavor. My mug was a gift, from Starbucks, but minimally branded.

Pandora and Songza

As far as writing goes, instrumental dubstep really get’s my creativity flowing. Don’t judge me. I also like Tool, Cake and the soundtrack to the french movie Micmacs

Messenger Bag and Duct Tape Attache Case

For a while I was obsessed with making things with black duct tape. One of the more useful things I made was a portfolio thing. I’ve been using it to carry loose papers, my notebook and my tablet around. I don’t always write at my desk. In fact, most of my best writing has been done at my favorite coffee shop or on campus of UNM. Those things are indispensable.

Steve the Dalek

It seems that a lot of people have what they call a “writer’s totem.” Well, I don’t have that. I have a plush Dalek, and he’s more of a slave driver/personal motivator. (I love how “dalek” isn’t a misspelled word according to Google’s dictionary.)

Originally published here. For original writing and NanoWrimo updates, visit writing.ravellopez.com.

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Any.DO – Android App Pick

Basically, it’s a simple to do list with a clean interface, easy to read font. It syncs with a Chrome extension and Google Tasks it also regularly saves a back up of all your tasks in case of accidents.

Using it is, again, simple. Start typing in the top bar to add a task, or use Android’s voice dictation. As you type, Any.DO drops down suggestions to auto complete your task.

Long tap to move, swipe right to “check” a task, left to “un-check.” Shake to clear completed tasks (gimmicky). Note, there is a small bug. When you move the task, it drops to the folder above it. There is an option in the note menu to change folder by hand.

Tasks are sorted either by date or folder. You can select an app as a priority and that adds a red bar. When you set a due date and time, a pop up reminder, not a native notification appears.

I love it. Design and simplicity are front and center. It is also available on the iPhone and, coming soon, a web app.

Any.DO www.any.do

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Wilhelm Scream

The “Wilhelm Scream” is a famous inside joke of a sort among sound designers and editors in movies. It is used often in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series’s. Now you can use it on your phone. But, you have to throw it in the air. So be careful.

It’s good for a laugh, but to be honest, you might uninstall it in about a week. I won’t, but you might.

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3banana and Snaptic (Updated)

My first post reviewing Android Apps! Today we have 3banana. It’s an extremely versatile note taking app. Opening it brings up your notes. Notes are arranged by date modified. You can also tag notes with hash (#) tags. Pictures, web pages and anything else that can be “shared” can be saved with 3banana. But that’s only half the goodness.

The other half is the online sync  with Snaptic.com.

All notes are backed up online in a slick, comprehensible layout. With all the tags, pictures, and everything.

Now, you can’t have more than one photo per note, but all photo notes are tagged with photo, not to mention any user made ones.

3banana is free and you can log in to both 3banana and Snaptic with a Google account.
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10/2/2010 – Update

The App is now named Catch Notes

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I was just learning to love…

(If you get the reference, you get a gold star!)

The last bit of “administrative detail” today, I decided to start posting articles about how I use my Android phone. I’ve had a Nexus One since February. It serves me well, though the unlock button has become incredibly hard to press lately. I might need to get that fixed. Every now and then, I’ll review apps, talk about how it’s awesome, tell you how much the next version rocks (because I’ll get it sooner than most). By the way,v4.0 is named honeycomb. Didn’t see that coming. But then again, how many deserts start with an “H?”

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