Not a fan of Flipboard? With their acquisition of Zite, another big reader app was taken out of the mix. If you don’t really like the magazine page-flipping style of Flipboard, there are other alternatives. Depending on how you find and consume content, one (or more!) of these might do the trick.
When Google rolled Currents into their new Newsstand app, it showed the app’s aim. We liked currents, but it was a bit clumsy. Rolling it into Newsstand livened it up in regard to functionality. The utility of Currents stayed, though.
Newsstand has both Magazines (subscription, obviously) and My News (Currents, more or less). The latter is your Flipboard competitor, and asks that you curate your own feeds — just like Flipboard. The difference is interface, which we find to be snappier and easier to navigate. It all happens via the slide-out menu from the left, and familiar “back” key up top. We really like the interface, too — simple, clean, and lets us scroll rather than flip.
Feedly replaced Google Reader for many of us, and it remains one of the better ways to consume information quickly. Though we think of RSS feeds as pretty boring, like a dull hammer, Feedly is a nice alternative. The interface is neat, and it works across platforms. A little bonus here is that it will use your Google+ as a sign-in, so you won’t have to remember yet another password.
More than any other on this list, Feedly allows for a lot of customization. You can choose to see headlines or more robust text/pictures in the main stream, and even toy with how you navigate the app and articles. Feedly also keeps with the new Android styling and slide-out menu, so it looks as good as it functions. We’re a big fan of double-tap to close an article, so give that a shot when you’re knee-deep in settings.
There is also a function to share to your favorite reading service (like the next on our list) or favorite social site with one tap. Feedly can be conjured to work just how you want it to, and lets you consume more info in a shorter time than anything else. There is a Feedly Pro, which is a bit expensive for the average reader among us, but a good option for information junkies. If you’re an avid consumer or info, Feedly might be your go-to, here.
Though Pocket has no “feed” to speak of, we like it for a few reasons. The app works by saving items shared to it for offline use and viewing later. It’s great for those times you come across an interesting article or video, but just don’t have time to check it out. It’s also great for being avaiable across platforms, and there’s even a Chrome extension and OS X app for it, which saves items to Pocket quickly and easily. Two views keep it simple, and the reading interface is a pure joy. Again, a Google+ log-in keeps it simple.
One thing we find really neat about Pocket is the option to switch to web view rather than the stripped-down reading mode. Say a picture didn’t load properly, and it needs to be seen to make sense of the article. Just pop into web view, and you’ll see it as the Internet intended, all without leaving the app. Pretty sublime.
You can also choose which topics you want to read by tagging them. There are no folders to tuck topics away to, but you can tag them. We will admit the tagging feature is a bit cumbersome (you have to enter list view before tagging, and it’s much easier via the Chrome extension), but it works once you get it down. Sharing from Chrome mobile is nice, and Pocket seems to work with jsut about any app we’ve run across. For picking up where you left off, Pocket is fantastic.
We were big fans of Zite, but Flipboard? Not so much. It’s a bit clumsy for quick reading, asking for more of a sit-down-and-read type of lifestyle, which doesn’t suit us most times. We don’t hate Flipboard, per se, but we’re not crazy about it. These three apps are meant to be alternatives, but could also serve to round out your Flipboard experience (if you’re a fan).
These three apps also represent different ways of consuming media. Newsstand is more like Flipboard to our mind, it just doesn’t ask that you “flip”. Feedly is great for consuming content quickly, while Pocket is wonderful for getting back to an article or video without having to remember where it was that you found it. If you have a suggestion for a reading app you like, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know which is your favorite.