Just a couple of years back, the words ‘mobile readers’ would mean absolutely nothing. But as technology is advancing at an exponential rate, so too is the world around us.
Browsing the internet on your mobile device can be somewhat of a painful experience, with users either getting a stripped down version or having to constantly zoom in and out. The emergence of tablets has helped in this area, but internet content just isn’t the same as on your home PC, and this is particularly the case for the media industry. Try reading today’s newspaper from your mobile device…
As with almost everything else, app developers have attempted to get around this frustration by developing mobile reading apps. These apps effectively aggregate live news data into a simple, crisp and user friendly magazine format and here we see some of the apps that are out there.
An obvious place to start is with the ever present Google and their Google Currents. What started out in the U.S., has now spread globally since the start of 2012. Users can read and share their favourite content from publications to blogs, presented in a swipeable magazine format.
The great trick here though is that the app examines your preferences and then goes about finding breaking news articles for you to read as well as photos and videos that the user may enjoy. Say you’re interested in all in one printers and their reviews from a specific tech website. No problem, the app will pull through articles based on this specific preference.
This of course requires an internet connection, but fear not. The app saves the collection of personalised data, enabling users to read the content when offline; although there still won’t be any photo or video content leaving the pages a little bare.
Pulse provides a similar offering but in a “mosaic format” for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pulse exhibits a series of colourful bars, which are filled by content from your favourite, pre-selected sources. These can be traditional formats, blogs and social networks.
The developers of the app, out of their own frustrating experiences, have desperately attempted to simplify the whole experience, with one tap on an article meant for opening and reading, and two taps to share the article with friends via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Lastly we look at an app that is attracting a lot of news at the moment – Flipboard. Probably the longest serving reader, it was originally developed for the iPad in December 2010 and has since made it to all iOS and Android devices. The App aggregates news as well as social network feeds and uniquely reformats them in a flipbook style magazine. It gives the formulaic, list-style content of Twitter a whole new feel by adding images and effectively styling it up. The really clever part is that if your friends have posted links, such as Tweets of interesting posts they’ve read, you’ll also see an image and an excerpt of the item. The App trawls through the feed and then goes about finding the content it needs to put together your personalised magazine.
In a further advancement, the developers have very recently integrated audio, making sound omnipresent throughout their social magazine.
This is still a young area of technology, but with some key players flirting with the tools, we can expect some exciting developments in the not too distant future.