Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Artist's Picks: Flipboard/Pocket

Welcome back to The Artist's Picks, and happy Friday, by the way! Today, we're taking a look at two apps, for a change, but they work very well together: Flipboard and Pocket.

This entry actually consists of two apps, but they work so well together. Flipboard is a news reader app, which gathers news from all over the internet and presents it in a beautiful, easy-to-read format.

Flipboard only recently came to Android, but it is already one of the most popular apps on the Play Store, so you can get an idea of how great it is.

Pretty much you can set it to search for anything, (such as science, or food) and it will display the top stories on that topic from websites everywhere. It also has 'Cover Stories', which are all the top stories from your various feeds.

Not only can you search by topic, but you can search by source as well. If you are only interested in, say the New York Time's news stories, then just search it up and that website's stories will appear on the app. It's not limited to newspapers--I was able to get some of my favourite webcomics to update on the front page too.

It consolidates all these pages into one lovely interface, reminiscent of a magazine. At the top of the screen, the 'Cover Stories' are displayed, then one or two other feeds you have subscribed to. To change pages, you don't swipe sideways or press 'next' like conventional apps, instead you swipe upwards and the bottom half of the screen 'flips' over like a book.

This interface is carried over when reading stories too. I find that the whole experience is rather like reading a book, as you're forced to read to the end of the page, rather than constantly scrolling up all the time.

The second of this dynamic duo is Pocket. It's simply a read-it-later app, but it works well with Flipboard as it is one of the default 'read-it-later' options. If you enable it in Flipboard's settings, then you can long press a certain story you'd like to read then select 'read-it-later', and Pocket will download that story to your device to read later.

This is really useful if you foresee a long trip where there won't be much Internet access and you'd like to keep busy. Just browse through recent news stories on Flipboard, save all the ones you'd like to read later to Pocket, and boom! Instant newspaper.

Pocket isn't exclusively for Flipboard though. You can use it to download almost any media. For example, if I see a neat YouTube video I'd like to watch but am in a public place without earbuds, I'll save it to Pocket so I can watch it later at home. In that case however, Pocket won't actually download the video to your phone, but provide a link to YouTube where the video is located.

You can also save webpages for offline viewing, so if Flipboard doesn't work out for you, then don't uninstall Pocket until you have a chance to see its true potential.

Both apps are free and devoid of ads, so check 'em out and start reading!

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