My name is Robin Wauters, and I’m a news junkie.
Being obsessed with consuming as much news – mostly technology related, of course – as humanly possible in the all too short span of any given day comes with the territory of working for TechCrunch, but I’ve always been a fan of obtaining as much information as fast as I could.
You could say my ever-growing habit of trying to consume as much news in my waking hours as I can is more of a natural cause for my employment in the fast-paced tech blogging scene than it is a result.
It also means I feel very disconnected when I’m not near a computer or mobile phone I can use to tap the Internet for the never-ending stream of news that gets pumped onto the wires.
(Reading Wisdom 2.0 didn’t help – I barely found time to turn the pages)
I used to have a HTC phone (OS: Windows Mobile 6) for when I was on the go, which offered such a miserable browsing experience compared to the iPhone 3GS I own now that I’m genuinely thankful every single day for the fact that technology evolves so fast and the average consumer has so much choice these days.
Before I digress too much: there are a number of iPhone apps that I use to (try and) stay on top of the news flow, like a mobile RSS reader and apps from major publishers like the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Bloomberg etc. But then there are a couple of iPhone applications built by independent programmers that provide even more news consumption bliss, and there are three that I wanted to highlight today.
The first comes from BNO News, the tiny but incredibly efficient media organization behind the popular @BreakingNews Twitter account that gets followed by some 1,320,000 people right now. The company’s ‘breaking news’ iPhone application (iTunes link) with customized push notifications is a must-have for anyone who likes to learn about news near-instantly. PaidContent’s Rafat Ali recently gushed about BNO News and its fantastic iPhone app, saying some of the majors should step up and buy them outright. I tend to disagree: as long as they’re eating the majors’ lunch on breaking news independently, which shouldn’t they keep to their own and see what happens next?
The cost: $1.99 for the installation and a $0.99 subscription fee per month.
Worth it? No-brainer.
The second is an iPhone app that was launched not too long ago: a mobile extension of Newsy.com (iTunes link). Newsy caters perfectly to people like me, who are keen on getting news fed to them in snack-size bits of multimedia that cover the essence of what’s going on. Newsy monitors, analyzes, curates and presents the world’s news coverage through short video segments available both on the web and mobile devices. It’s great for quick news consumption on the go, but also helpful in understanding it by delivering stories as covered by media outlets from around the world.
The cost: zip.
Its lifestreaming iPhone app was already worth installing, but ZenNews – billed as “a new breed of intelligent news analysis programs” – takes the cake as far as I’m concerned. The app allows you to discover story trends from the world’s leading news sources – bar TechCrunch – in real-time. It provides you with a visual way of sifting through the news of the day by displaying tag clouds made up of essential keywords that you can tap in order to drill down to what you’re interested in reading.
You can switch to a different news source by simply swiping to the next tag cloud, which also allows you to compare news item coverage from different sources. And if the tag clouds don’t do it for you, you can switch to a list-based, chronological overview of the news as well. In addition, you can filter certain news categories out of what gets displayed on your screen. Finally, you can favorite news stories from any source and pass articles on to your Twitter friends and by e-mail in just one tap.
The cost: nada
Any other neutral developers who’ve come up with innovative concepts around mobile news consumption (on any platform) that I should know about?
The comment section is there for you.