Many dismiss the HTC Blinkfeed feature as yet another gimmicky home screen widget to feed Facebook and other social feed drivel into users' lives. Those detractors couldn't be more wrong. In reality, Blinkfeed is a great way to get information front and center, immediately and easily. With this tool, you can include:
- Associated Press News
- Business Insider
- Financial Times
- International Business Times
- Android Central
- Headline News
- and, yes, your social feed
In fact, there are over 10,000 sources you can pull into Blinkfeed — information for nearly anyone.
The only caveat to Blinkfeed? It's unique only to HTC devices. If you have an HTC One, One Max, or M8, then you have Blinkfeed. To get to it, swipe your home screen to the right to reveal the information overload-worthy app. It's always there, ready to serve. But how to you personalize it, like adding content and apps? Let's dig in and fine-tune HTC Blinkfeed for business users and professionals.
The first thing you'll want to do is add sources to your feed. To do this, follow these simple steps:
- Open your HTC device and swipe the home screen to the right
- Swipe again to the right
- Tap the overflow menu button in the top right (Figure A)
- Tap Add content
- In the resulting window (Figure B), scroll to locate a newsfeed to add or category to search (Note: In the Add content drop-down, make sure you select the edition specific to your country)
- Scroll through the listing (Figure C), and check any item(s) you wish to include
- When you've added all your sources, tap the left-pointing arrow (in the upper left corner) to return to the content listing/categories
- Repeat the above steps until you have all of the content you want to include
If you take a look at Blinkfeed now, you'll see it populated with the content you just added.
Adding services and apps
Now that you have news content filling up Blinkfeed, why not add services and apps? Say, for example, your company has a Twitter feed or Facebook page that you manage (or follow). You can add it. In fact, you can add the following services and apps to Blinkfeed:
- Kid Mode
- Restaurant recommendations
To add an app or service, follow these steps:
- Open up Blinkfeed
- Swipe to the right to reveal the sidebar
- Tap the overflow menu button
- Tap Services & Apps
- Scroll through the listing and tap to add services and/or apps (Figure D)
- Tap the left-pointing arrow in the upper left corner to return to Blinkfeed
During the adding of Services & Apps, you may be prompted to install a client app to continue. This is normal behavior, as Blinkfeed depends on those clients for proper functionality.
At this point, you should have all the content you need to keep you as up-to-date as possible.
You've added a ton of content, so now Blinkfeed is almost as hard to follow as Twitter. Right? Wrong. You can easily filter out what content you see by swiping the Blinkfeed window to the right, locating the content you want to see, and tapping it. With this, you can select:
- A single source: View only that source in Blinkfeed
- Recent updates: View only those sources with recent updates
- Highlights: View a selection of updates from all sources
If you see a piece that you want to read, simply tap that item and it will open up in the associated application. If the item is a Facebook post, it will open up in the Facebook app. If the item is a Twitter or Google+ post, it will open in their respective clients. News items will open in the built-in Blinkfeed reader. From that opened item, you can easily share in the standard Android fashion (tap the Share button and share via Facebook, Scribble, Drive, Messages, Mail, or Bluetooth).
To update your content, simply swipe downward in the Blinkfeed window (just like you would do in one of the Android email apps).
Blinkfeed is ready to keep you up to date on nearly any front you can imagine. Between this outstanding HTC tool and the notification bar, you won't miss a thing. Blinkfeed isn't just for socialites — it's also for those who want a single location to help them stay in the know, in the now.
Is Blinkfeed a useful tool for you? If not, have you found a better means for keeping up to date with multiple sources at once? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.