Home' LAPTOP Magazine : August 2011 Contents APPS
tap the + bar at the bottom of a Pulse
page or the gear icon in the upper-left
corner. Users can choose from featured
feeds, browse for individual feeds within
17 categories, search for or add RSS feeds
individually, and import subscriptions
from a Google Reader account. Pulse
will also pull in data from Facebook, but
it doesn’t import content from Twitter.
A new feature called Pulse.me lets
users star stories and save them to their
personal profile created on the iPad. You
can then view the stories you save on
your iPad, iPhone, or Android device on
the web when you go to pulse.me
Like Flipboard, Pulse will cache text from
the items it loads that users can access
offline, but it won’t cache images. Users
have no control over how many items the
app caches at one time—each feed will
load 20 to 24 items by default.
Overall, we prefer Flipboard for its mag-
azine-like user interface and more robust
feature set, but Pulse is a close second and
is definitely worth the download. It should
appeal to voracious news junkies.
Platforms: iOS and Android
Taptu turns the traditional RSS reader on
its head by placing a heavy emphasis on
social networking. In addition to providing
easy access to your favorite web content,
this app lets you add your Facebook,
LinkedIn, and Twitter feeds so you’re
always in the know.
Taptu’s interface is very similar to
Pulse—with a grid of uniformly sized cards
isn’t as attrac-
tive as Pulse,
but the inter-
face is equally
of text and
it easy to
without an image look overly busy.
Taptu handles social-networking book-
marks more like Flipboard than Pulse, as it
actually loads the content beyond the link.
Users can like and comment on Facebook
posts and retweet or reply on Twitter.
In addition to viewing suggested/featured
content, users can browse sources by
topic and add feeds from Google Reader.
For social networks, users can add a full
Facebook newsfeed, just Facebook links,
LinkedIn updates, and Twitter.
We wish that Taptu didn’t restrict users
to importing a maximum of 30 feeds
from Google Reader on the iPad (100
on Android). Hardcore users will run out
of slots fast.
Taptu offers better offline support than
its main competitors. The app will pre-
load and cache more than 70 items per
feed, sometimes with images. We don’t
like that users have no control over how
many feed items the app downloads and
caches. You also don’t have the option to
cache images as we’ve seen in NewsRob
Taptu has some features that make it
stand out from other news readers: It has an
intuitive interface, stores content for read-
ing offline, and integrates well with social
networks. However, the interface isn’t as
slick as Flipboard or Pulse, and its importing
limits will frustrate newshounds.
Zite comes off as Flipboard’s alternate-
universe twin. Both iPad apps attempt to
impose a magazine-like experience over
the web news format. But while Flipboard
started from the idea that your social
network friends are the best curators of
what you need to read, the people behind
Zite believe their algorithms are better
suited for that job.
Zite comes the closest of the apps in
our roundup to looking like Flipboard, but
the interface doesn’t feel derivative, and
it’s equally attractive. The front page has
a handful of Top Stories, and to the right
are several customizable categories (Film
& TV, Gadgets, Politics, etc). Pages are
populated by chunks of text and images
arranged in blocks. The aesthetic is very
reminiscent of The New York Times while
managing to look modern.
The Personalization and Sharing bar
along the right gives users the option to
give a thumbs-up or -down to an article,
which helps Zite learn your reading prefer-
ences. You can also specifically tell the app
to give you more stories from a particular
source, author, or topic. We like that users
have more sharing options here than most
newsreader apps offer: Delicious, e -mail,
Facebook, Instapaper, and Twitter.
Unlike most traditional news apps, Zite
doesn’t give users the option to pull in
feeds from specific sources, but instead
offers theme-based groups to choose
from: Film & TV, Gadgets, Politics, World
News, and more. Zite then determines
which sources it should highlight and
which should disappear based on what
you choose to read and share. Though we
were able to add our Twitter and Google
Reader accounts to Zite, the app uses
this to feed the algorithm instead of just
pulling from those sources.
The app isn’t designed to work offline
at all, which is frustrating for travelers
Zite sets itself apart from other news
readers in that it’s topic- rather than
source-driven. Coupled with features
that help it learn what kind of news you
like to read, this approach is pretty ef-
fective. We just wish that we had more
control over what sources this app uses.
Still, Zite’s attractive interface and mul-
tiplicity of sharing options make it a fun
newsreader to try out.
Laptop | august 2011
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