Useful Android Apps: NewsRob

Do you have an Android phone? I've been using one for about 15 months now -- first it was a G1, and now the Google1 Nexus 1 -- and in that time I've discovered a number of applications that have proven indispensable, and over the coming entries I'll share my recommendations.

The first of these is NewsRob. It's a Google Reader client, syncing the content of your news feeds from Google Reader to the phone. It can also sync the web page content of the articles so that they are easily accessible when you're out and about -- handy for RSS feeds that don't include the full content of a post in the feed, or where you want to see comments that were left on the post on the original site.

With a slick, simple UI that gets out of the way, and a wealth of battery and wallet friendly syncing options ("only on WiFi", "only when charging", and so on) that can be set on a per-feed basis if necessary it's easy to stay in control of your feeds, and NewsRob can also share and star interesting posts via Google Reader.


On opening NewsRob you're presented with a list of your Google Reader top-level categories that have unread items. Tapping a category (in this case, "tech news") shows you the web site sources in that category that contain unread items. Note the handy "all articles" items at the top of the list, making it easy to just work through all unread articles, or all unread articles in a particular category.


On the left is the default article view, showing the article from the selected source. Notice the lack of UI elements for moving through the articles. Tapping an unused portion of the screen brings up 'floating' arrows that allow you to navigate the feed, without constantly consuming precious screen real estate. Notice, too, the star in the top navigation bar. Tapping that marks this entry with a star in Google Reader.

Tapping the article title takes you to the article as it appears on the originating web site, the right-hand screen shot in this example. This is done within NewsRob, your default web browser is not launched, so you can jump to the original site, read the content in context there while still being able to star the item, or use the floating UI to quickly move to the next article.

NewsRob is available for free (ad-supported), or you can pay for the ad-free version. Search for it in Android Market, or scan this QR code with your phone to install it.

NewsRob QR Code

1 My employer. This and other entries are my opinion, not theirs.

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