Breaking news is often an IT admins
best friend. Knowing if a nasty virus is on the loose (or a fix for said
virus), hearing about a shiny new piece of tech that could save your company
millions of dollars, or even just keeping up on the latest technology trends is
often a necessity within the world of IT.
Many of us don’t have the time to
sit down at a desktop and scour the Internet for news. What we do have time
for, however, is catching up with our smartphones and tablets. If you’re lucky
enough to be on the Android platform, there are plenty of apps that aggregate
news and serve them up with an easy-to-use interface.
But which ones? There are quite a
lot of news aggregators available. I’ve gone through a good amount of them
and found the ones that do the best job of collecting the most relevant news
with the friendliest user interface. Here they are.
Flipboard offers a more modern take on the
collection and reading of news. Instead of tapping through tabs and article
summaries, you “flip” through tiles of topics. Once you’ve signed up for a free
account (you sign up through the app), you can customize your Flipboard to list
only technology-specific news (or nearly any topic). One really nice feature of
Flipboard is the ability to create your own “Magazines,” which allow you
to collect posts of interest into one location. You add posts into Magazines by opening the post (Figure A), tapping the plus sign [+], and then selecting a Magazine (or creating a new one).
Flipboard running on a Verizon-branded Motorola
What puts Flipboard on this list is
its flexibility. Not only does this app allow you to do some serious
customization, it also will integrate with Android Daydream (so your Flipboard
will show when your Android is docked or charging).
2. Circa News
Circa News was given the award for Best Google
Play App of 2013. If you’re a news junkie, this is the app for you. Circa
offers six categories: Top Stories, United States, Politics, World,
Technology, Science & Health. Once you get into the Technology category (Figure B), you’ll find plenty of news
The Circa News Technology category.
Circa News offers push and the
ability to follow updates on a particular article as they arrive. This means that you won’t miss a single bit of information on that article. As you read an
article, you’ll see related stories peppered throughout. Circa does a great
job of keeping the related articles focused on the topic at hand (unlike some
other news outlets, who just toss in popular buzz phrases to get you to
continue reading). Circa also allows you to share articles via the usual
methods — email, Facebook, Twitter, etc — and get quick access to all of the
posts you’re following.
What puts Circa on this list is its
ability to easily get you to poignant, relative content quickly and its
amazing interface that actually helps you read sometimes complex content when you’re on the go.
3. Google Play Newsstand
Google Play Newsstand not only allows you to
find the technology news you want, it also lets you to subscribe to magazines
— all in one convenient interface. The interface allows you to quickly switch
between a standard and a Mini Card view. The standard view presents the pieces
with large images and titles, whereas the Mini Card view offers a compact view
so you can scroll through article listings faster. Technology is couple with
science (as it often is). When you view the Science & Technology subject (Figure C), you’ll see available
magazines at the top and news stories at the bottom.
Google Play Newsstand’s Technology
One of the only issues I’ve found
with Google Play Newsstand is that you never know when you’re landing on a
piece of news from a subscription-based source. For example, any time you tap
on a piece from the New York Times, you’re reminded of how many free pieces of
content you have (you’re limited to 10 per month). However, once you get into a piece,
the interface gets out of the way and provides you with a clean reading experience.
What puts Google Play Newsstand on
this list is the blending of both news and magazines — both of which can be
added via subscription (if required) and the ability to read everything
4. Tech News
Tech News offers a clean and simple interface
(Figure D) to bring to you a
collection of some of the most reputable tech news sites around (Gizmodo,
SlashDot, Ars Tecnhica, Wired, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Next Web, Mashable,
AllThingsD, CNET, and much more). Note: If you have another site you would like
to include (such as TechRepublic — hint hint), simply email the developers
and they will look into adding the feed.
Tech News interface is clean, even with the ads.
The Tech News interface is set up in Tabs — one for each source.
Simply swipe to the right or left to gain access to a new source of news. Once you’re on the chosen source, scroll through and tap on the article you want to view.
Tech News isn’t filled with bells and whistles. About the only things you can
do is zoom in and out, visit the article site (from within an article, tap the
device menu button, and then tap Visit Site), and share a post (via the standard
methods). From within the app settings, you can disable/enable image loading,
enable close app confirmation, enable Remember last feed, add/remove feeds
from your list, and re-order the feeds that you’ve enabled.
What puts Tech News on this list is its simple approach to
providing the news you want on your mobile device without anything getting in the
5. Currently Tech News
Currently Tech News calls itself the
“Pop-chart of the Technology business news.” It works hard to
take the search out of your news by including a Top Headline Chart, Breaking
News notifications, Past hour and Today charts, and much more. The interface is
set up to mimic a music “Top 40” chart (Figure
E), but don’t let that turn you off.
The Currently Tech News interface.
The interface is actually very easy
to use. Tap on the Past hour or Today tabs to get up-to-date news. If you long-press an
entry, you’ll be prompted to save the article for later reading, tweet the
article, or share it. If you simply tap the entry, the article will open in
your default mobile web browser. You can also set up Currently Tech News to
open the articles without the help of a third-party browser (tap the device
menu button, select Settings, and click Use
External Browser to disable). Although the internal reader is fine, you’ll get
a richer experience by allowing the external browser to display the content.
The only problem with that is you’ll have to re-open the app when you’re done
What puts Currently Tech News into
this list is its ability to get the most current news to you as quickly and
effectively as possible.
There is so much news available
now. Getting the content you want can mean either visiting a number of web
sites or using a single tool to bring it all together. These five apps all do
an outstanding job of just that. What’s your favorite tech news app for the Android platform? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.