Android App of the Week: Pulse
Android news apps are pretty samey. I'm a regular user of a pair of unofficial BBC News apps alongside software such as World Newspapers and Eurogamer, and, while they're undoubtedly useful, many of these apps aren't what I'd call attractive.
Our first Android App of the Week for 2011, though, takes this basic template - listing the latest posts from popular news and entertainment sites - and gives it a thorough makeover.
It's called Pulse, is developed by Alphonso Labs, and formats the news in a grid rather than in a list: scroll down through different sources, and swipe from left to right through the stories available.
Each story is presented with a small headline and a bigger picture, and it's all wrapped up in a clean UI with a black, blue and grey colour scheme.
Adding a news source is as easy as clicking a button at the bottom of the list, and sources are divided into categories - from business, entertainment and fashion to food, gaming, music and tech. Each category's packed with top titles, and Google Reader integration makes it easy to add your favourites. There's even the option to use bump and trade your news sources with other Pulse users.
Pulse's main advantage, though, is its design. I know it's shallow, but I've been using this app more than any of its rivals simply because it looks nice: I'd rather scroll around a page of interesting pictures than a dull, static list of headlines.
It’s just as slick when you click a story, too, with previews displayed in Pulse’s own browser, alongside links to the full version and options to share the story on Facebook and Twitter. You’re also able to call up a small menu that’ll let you scroll through that particular site’s other stories.
It looks great and that's just on my phone, which is hampered by a relatively low resolution – 320 x 480 - when compared to other Android smartphones and tablets. I can only imagine that the Pulse experience gets better when it's loaded on a larger screen.
It's this combination of attractive UI and efficient presentation of information that makes Pulse a worthy winner of our Android App of the Week title. It's free in the Android market and, if you like your news more interesting than the average RSS reader, you should definitely take a look.