Get a visual hit of news with HitPad for the iPad

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We’ve seen Pulse and Flipboard take off as media apps on the iPad but there is plenty of space left to innovate. Launching today at Techonomy3 in Tel Aviv is Hitpad, a new entrant which will attempt to take news consumption more mainstream. It’s a lot nicer than using an RSS reader at any rate and the kind of thing ‘your granny’ could use easily. It launches in the next few hours on the US iPad app store here.

Hitpad is, as the name suggests, a ‘quick hit’ of what’s going on in the news on the iPad. It’s a sort of antidote to single source news apps, like the iPad app for the New York Times, as it pulls in many different sources and presents them in a visual way, not unlike a sort of ‘Tweetdeck for news’. But if Tweetdeck is just the streams, Hitpad is closer to active curation without you needing to do anything.

Free to download from the Apple AppStore, Hitpad’s servers do the heavy lifting in terms of determining what is ‘worth knowing’ on a day by tracking, measuring and analysing different sources and applying proprietary algorithms. The idea is that you get away from having to sift, say, Twitter for news, and get it direct from source, and also introduce serendipity back into news reading and avoid the ‘reverb’ of people re-tweeting the same news item over and over.

Hitpad is agnostic to the publishers that are providing the data, and to read a full article who are taken to a browser so that the publisher still gets to serve its ads.

Business model wise, expect to see ‘Sponsored trends’ or subtle advertising next to the stream.

Hitpad is not a visual news/RSS reader that sits on top of a curated list of sources like the Pulse app, and is not a visual reader for your social media streams like Flipboard.

You can tap on a topic, get a precis of the article or video, share to Facebook, Twitter, email or save to Instapaper.

The team behind Hitpad includes Jay Meydad, founder and CEO, Nir Holtzman Ninio, CTO. Hitpad was founded by Meydad at the end of 2010 in Pasadena, CA and is now operated from Tel Aviv. Prior to moving back to Israel from Los Angeles, he was a vp of Snap.com. Ninio is formerly of LivePerson.

The company’s investors include Pasadena-based Idealab and Tom McGovern, CEO of Snap.com. The directors and advisers to the company include Bill Gross, Allen Morgan, Marcia Goodstein and Tom McGovern.

If I can think of a criticism of Hitpad right now it’s that pulling on feeds doesn’t refresh them (they say this is because it’s curated for me and limited to 10 news items per column – well I prefer it to just refresh). Another is that I’s like more social streams and customisation. But it’s a decent start.