If you're a news junkie, you probably depend on various and sundry RSS feeds—so you most likely need a handy app to curate them into a single, easy-to-use location. Fortunately, plenty of Android apps are available to handle all your RSS needs.
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What is RSS?
For those who are new to RSS, here's a quick overview. RSS stands for rich site summary (or really simple syndication). It enables sites to publish frequently updated information in a format that is easy to consume (by both apps and humans). The format of RSS tends to be a title and a one-sentence or one-paragraph blurb. Readers can click on the title, which will take them to the original piece.
Different apps offer different features for RSS feeds. I have found five apps in the Google Play Store that I believe represent the best features and the most user-friendly interfaces. Let's take a look and see what's what.
If you're looking for one of the most widely used RSS apps, Feedly (Figure A) is what you want. Feedly allows you to quickly search for websites with RSS feeds, glance through feeds by topic, check out curated RSS collections, and even search via URL.
Feedly's interface is well designed, which makes it easy to navigate through a feed. If you create a Feedly account (it allows you to log in via Google, Facebook, or Twitter), managing your feeds becomes even easier. From the web interface, you can get really granular with your feeds and even integrate Feedly with IFTTT (although that requires a Pro account).
2: RSS Reader
The name says it all. RSS Reader (Figure B) is a free, straightforward app that allows you to manually enter RSS feed addresses and easily read your favorite feeds. It lets you schedule syncing to feeds and read offline, and it can alert you of new feed content (via the built-in Android notification system), share news, open links in your device default browser, auto-clear old news, and more.
The RSS Reader interface is basic. It doesn't display images, but it does include ads.
3: Palabre Feedly RSS
Palabre (Figure C) is an interesting take on RSS. You can integrate this reader with Feedly, Twitter, and other sources or you can use it to pull from topic-centric collections of feeds. It lets you save articles for later reading (offline), select from your various curated collections, and add new content providers.
The one thing you can't do is add your own RSS feeds via URL. For anyone who depends upon specific feeds, this will be a deal breaker. But for those who prefer getting their RSS news from feed collections, Palabre is an outstanding choice. This app is free, but it does offer in-app purchases.
Another outstanding RSS feed curator is Inoreader (Figure D). You do have to sign in with Google, Facebook, or Twitter, but once you do, Inoreader makes collecting newsfeeds a no-brainer. You can sort through the collection of categories, tap a category, and then select the feeds you want.
Although it's not terribly obvious, you can subscribe to a feed via URL by opening the sidebar, tapping the + button, tapping the search button, tapping the downward-pointing arrow (in the upper-right corner), entering the feed URL, and then tapping SUBSCRIBE.
If you're looking for a simple, free RSS reader with a basic (yet functional) interface, Aggregator (Figure E) might be just right. With this RSS reader, your only option is to enter feeds manually. But Aggregator offers a few more options than a bare-bones reader.
One notable feature is Entry rules, which enables you to create rules for individual feeds, such as excluding/including entries by title or by content. This means you can set up basic filters for every feed you add to the app.
If RSS is your thing, there are plenty of apps ready to feed you the news you want to read. After working through much of the Google Play Store, I've found these five apps to be topnotch.
Do you have a favorite RSS reader that's not on this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.
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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.