The Android Market, like every other mobile application store, has literally hundreds of RSS readers to choose from. Nearly every news source in the world is at your fingertips, ready to be digesting in the instant format of RSS.
Sometimes, however, you just want to relax and read a good, old fashioned newspaper.
Browsing a newspaper is a relaxing and focused task, and is something that not even the best, most fully featured RSS feed reader can replicate. The problem with reading newspapers on mobile devices is that news outlets usually have just one subscription based app for each individual newspaper.
This makes the idea of reading multiple newspapers an expensive prospect, not to mention an inelegant solution.
PressReader hopes to change all that.
The app brings the ability to read over 1800 digital versions of newspapers, all for one monthly subscription. You can also choose to pay per paper, but the monthly sub works out far better value, especially for the daily newspapers.
The amount of newspapers available is staggering, and can even be a little daunting, but the app nicely lets you break them down into countries of origin to make it easier to make your selections.
Once you find a few you are interested in, you can then download the paper, and what is really great is that you can then subscribe to that paper, and even have the app auto deliver new copies to you, ready to be read the minute they come out.
It’s really cool, and brings a lot of the functionality of Kindle to the app. The selection itself varies by country, with the English speaking nations tending to have many more papers to choose from, with the UK and USA particularly well served.
What’s really great here is browsing through papers you would never usually read from foreign countries. It can be quite eye opening.
All this would be pointless if the actual paper reading mechanism wasn’t any good, but it seems that the developer has thought of every thing. Opening a paper shows the newspaper in a traditional fashion, and you can use pinch to zoom to pan and zoom around each page. Swiping left and right to slide between pages, you can also pull up a screen full of the papers pages to aid navigation.
The text resizes nicely, although I wish it would resize more quickly than it does. Pictures look great, and all in all it really feels like you are using a real newspaper. Of course, the very nature of newspapers means that they are quite difficult to read, and swiping around to follow the text can get tiresome, so it’s a good thing the developer has an ace up it’s sleeve.
touching any articles headline opens up a screen where the text is laid out in a traditional block, much like a normal webpage. This is a great feature, and really turns the app from a novel way of reading the papers into a serious news reading tool.
The app automatically highlights links such as URLs, phone numbers and email addresses which can be a useful function and a nice ‘one over’ traditional papers, and the papers actually include many supplements such as Sunday magazines, adding a lot of value.
So, it’s a subscription based app, and the sub may seem expensive, but if you plan on reading at least a couple of papers a day, then the value becomes clear, and I think it’s worth every penny. Will it replace your RSS reader? No, but it does act as a nice supplement to RSS feeds, and it may even replace your real newspaper after a while.
Overall, I think this is an excellent tool, and the developer has to be applauded for managing to make it all hang together. Having your paper auto delivered to your device will never get old, and I can give this a strong recommendation for those looking to have access to many newspapers for one subscription.
UPDATE: This app is now available for the BlackBerry PlayBook