The drawn out death of Google Reader earlier this year inspired the tech blogosphere to write any number of blog posts about possible alternatives, beit AOL, Digg, one of the magazine style agregators, or some newly launched service.
An awful lot has been written over the past 6 months, but I noticed today that almost all of the posts missed an important part of the topic. They all talked about apps you could find in Google Play or iTunes, but hardly any thought to mention the Amazon Appstore.
I couldn’t find any info posts on the news reader apps available for the Kindle Fire, so I set out to write one. Here are 5 apps for reading news feeds on your KF. Three of them tied into specific platforms, but the other 2 can work with any number of news reader services.
This list is rather thin, I know. It turns out that there isn’t a terribly large selection of news reader apps to chose from. While the Amazon Appstore does offer a few of the major names it doesn’t have much more than that (not that I could find).
Of the 5 apps, I have to say that I like JustReader the best. It’s the only paid app, but it is also the most feature rich and it works with my preferred service (BazQux). I looked at it a couple months ago and it’s the best of the 3 Android apps I tried. I use it for my news reading whenever I am away from my computer. I have also tried gReader, but I didn’t care for it.It just wasn’t as polished.
Feedly, Digg, and Pulse have been covered extensively, so I won’t duplicate work done elsewhere. Here’s what I thought of JustReader and gReader.
This is a free/paid app which syncs with Feedly and BazQux. The free version is ad-supported. The paid version cost $3 and offers a few more offline reading options and support for multiple accounts.
When I used this app before it was on my Nook HD+, and since I bought the app at the time I did not buy it again so I could try it on my KFHD.
I used the tablet mode to make use of the screen size, but there is also a more linear layout designed for smartphones and smaller screens. The layout and behavior was a little confusing at first, and I discovered that there were numerous ways to view a folder full of feeds.
The screen shots above show just one of the themes available. If burnt orange isn’t your thing (I think it’s ugly) there are less garish options.
Another detail I didn’t show but feel is worth mentioning is that this app can grab the full article (sans ads) from the original source. I’m reading it with the text bolded (it’s a formatting option) and I like it.
In spite of the confusing design, I think this is a usable app. The ads are not that annoying, IMO, and this app does offer most of the formatting and layout options I want. They are a little hard to find in the settings menu, but once this app was configured it works for me.
This is an expansion on gReader, the well-known news reader for Android. It is still in beta at the moment, so there is no guarantee that it will work for you. Current news reader support includes BazQux, CommaFeed, NewsBlur, TinyTiny RSS, and there’s a generic extension for Google Reader clones (I don’t know what that is for).
I tried this app on my KFHD. That was good for me because I got to test out the Ivona TTS option (provided by Amazon), and it sounded a lot better than the usual Android TTS.
Here’s what it looks like on the KFHD:
There’s also a title only view which isn’t shown, and a “web” reading mode which can pull in the source webpage, ads and all.
This app is still rough around the edges, but it worked fine for me – mostly. Not all features worked.
For example, there’s a checkbox in the settings menu for Google Translate but I don’t see a way to actually use that feature. There’s also a limited variety of themes (including a night mode). And the folder/article list layout in portrait mode doesn’t seem to be a good design (you can’t have both on screen at the same time).
But the offline reading mode appears to work, so there is that.