There is no doubt that news is changing from the way it is consumed to the way it is reported. We don’t yet know how the news world will look like in the future but technology will have a large impact. News organization are beginning to experiment with different form factors and the tablet will be a part of it. Here, I will discuss the best news apps currently on Android tablets. My rating was weighted more towards form factor and design rather than content since the focus of this blog is on native Honeycomb apps.
1. USA Today
I put USA Today app at the top because it simply had the best tablet design without a question. The screen layout is very clean taking advantage of the large tablet form with a scrolling sidebar and a main reading area. There are colorful tabs for sections that stand out along with links for scores, markets, books, etc. The main reading area has picture and videos embedded that pop-out to full screen. I found no lag or issues with pics and videos on my Galaxy Tab. Your sharing options are on the top-right bar along with the ability to expand articles to full width. I found the app very easy to navigate with a design that is appealing to the eye. This app just feels natural on a tablet.
2. CNN App
CNN is one of the largest news sources in the world and you can access all their stories, picture, and videos from their app for Android tablets. The app design is excellent with a sidebar for sections and a main screen area that displays pics for the articles. Clicking on any picture takes you to a full width page of the article that you scan scroll down to read or go to the next or previous article by panning left or right. You can access all of the CNN videos through each section or the video section. The app also includes iReport where you can submit your own pictures or videos. Overall a well designed app with a large collection of content.
3. News Republic
The News Republic app brings you the news from major press agencies like FP, eWeek, Adfero, Associated Press and etc. The app has a sidebar with stories and a main area that displays different sections that you can customize by adding your own sections or topic. There is also an interesting visual topics tag cloud that quickly brings attention to the current hot topics. All pictures and videos can be easily accessed through their perspective section.
4. News 360
The News 360 app is a news aggregator that give you all sides of every story. In this app you can access multiple news sources on the same article along with pics and videos. This way you have the opportunity to get the “360” view on any article. You can also filter articles by your local area which is a very useful feature not found on many apps. Another cool aspect of this app is that you can view article by a pictures tag cloud that you access from the “360 view” button. You can pan the screen left or right and clicking on any pic gives you the headline article. This is a visual way of discovering new articles that you might have overlooked and takes great advantage of the tablet design.
5. Time Mobile
The Time Mobile app brings you the content of time magazine on your tablet. I personally think that Time is one of the best news sources but didn’t put this app at the top due to design. This app is the same as the phone app but ported to the tablet. Nothing in particular stands out in design except the video section which is more enjoyable on the tablet. You have access to all of the different sections with options to share or offline reading. The content of Time is too good not to be includes in top news app but we do hope for a more tablet optimized version.