APP OF THE DAY: News Republic review (Android)
News is big business on your mobile device, with plenty of ways to get at the information you value. Not only do news sources make themselves available through apps of their own, but there are also plenty of other apps looking to do it for you.
Regulars on Pocket-lint will have seen our coverage of the HTC One (why not read our review?), along with the new Blink Feed service, again, another news aggregation service. Today we’re looking at an app that comes from the same source as the content of HTC’s latest feature, but this is all about news.
- Google Play
News Republic integrates lots of content from lots of different content providers. It’s a simple model, working in a similar way to apps like Pulse or Flipboard.
In News Republic you get to customise your landing page, or home page, of the app, showing the headline topics you’re subscribed to. These are quick and easy to select, as you’re guided through the process on first start.
News Republic groups the sources in topics, rather than giving you access to all the individual sources to choose between. That means you don’t have to subscribe to all the different publications, you get a broad offering from all of them.
For example, if you’re interested in technology, you’ll find that News Republic will offer you subsets of news, like "video games", "Android" or "Samsung". You can select those you fancy, like "smartphones" or "Apple" and they will be added to the content you are served through your home page.
You can remove some of the sources if you don’t like the type of content that source supplies. Tapping on the feeds icon in the top right-hand corner will bring up a list of the sources and you can opt to remove some, but that’s about as far as real control goes.
News Republic isn’t designed to be a replacement for a from-the-ground-up service like Feedly or the soon-to-be-terminated Google Reader and it offers full articles rather than those taken from RSS, so you get to read everything through it, rather than having to revert to the source website half-way through.
Content selection aside, it’s the app design that’s nice. The slick movement of the tiles when you select something to read, and the landscape scrolling as you move through the selection, gives the impression of a quality app and it’s a nice place to flick through and find something to read.
The app works in both landscape and portrait orientation and although we love it in landscape on a tablet - we’ve been using it on the Nexus 10 - the actual articles look better in portrait as they’re better laid out to fit a portrait screen on a phone like the HTC One.
You can have notifications on your device (optional) that will draw your attention to something major happening, you can elect to filter your content down to videos only if you don’t want to read, you can also fire up a Tag Nav (a tag cloud) so you can quickly find related content.
You can also set up an account to sync across devices, so you get the same on your tablet and smartphone, for example.
Overall, News Republic is a nicely designed app, there’s plenty of content on offer and it’s easy to dive in and find yourself cruising about the place sampling news from all around the web.