Our smartphones can be both a boon and a burden for staying connected. Keeping up-to-date is supposed to be easier than ever, and yet filtering through the flood of news and blog posts is a full-time job in itself (literally, for some). Luckily there are a number of great apps to help get you the news you want. Here are the best news apps on Android.
Feedly: for the modern face of RSS feeds
An RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed is a pretty old-school way of tracking updates to websites, but the method has been jazzed up significantly over the years, and now there are a number of apps that collate newly published content from sites for you to browse through.
Feedly is our pick of the bunch. The free version offers enough functionality for most users. You just add a load of publications that you’re interested in, which you can group by topic, and you’re off.
Feedly offers suggestions for publications you might like, which you can browse, add and remove as you see fit. There’s also a popularity algorithm that marks stories as hot, which is useful if you’re in a hurry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t currently offer a way to filter by popularity, but there’s an add-on called Sortly that adds this functionality and is highly recommended (note that it only works on the web version, however).
Pocket: for a way to save offline
So you’ve got your RSS feed set up, and you’re gleefully flicking through your wealthy customized feed, but what if you don’t have time to read all this stuff that seems so interesting? That’s where Pocket comes in. Pocket provides a super easy way to save content you like the look of to read later. It makes it all available offline and it ties in with Feedly, too, so just share an article to Pocket, and then you can come back to it at your leisure.
Pocket saves articles in a neatly trimmed reader view, removing all the headers, backgrounds and ads from websites. It also has an option to archive articles that you particularly like, so you can easily refer back to them at a later date.
Inside: for curated news
Inside provides a novel overview of the news. A team of volunteer curators selects stories, summarizes them in a paragraph and posts them to the feed. If a story summary takes your fancy, you can follow the link to read the full story from the original source.
There are trending stories and top news, and everything is categorized, making it a seamless and varied news-reading experience.
Flipboard: for a personalized mobile magazine
Flipboard gets its name from its pleasing page-flipping animation that happens every time you swipe over to another story. But it’s more than just a pleasure for the eye: Flipboard has a huge number of topics that you can highlight as being of interest, which the app then uses to feed you content.
This method can be a little overwhelming, but once you delve deeper, and start to follow people through the app, tell Flipboard that you want more articles like the ones you enjoy, and generally make the most of its algorithms, you can end up with a highly refined and personalized magazine that is a pleasure to flip through whenever you have the chance.
SmartNews: for an overview of trending stories
Designed for a quick overview of the most popular articles on the web, SmartNews offers a clean and precise interface that sorts stories under general headings – top, entertain, world, biz, tech, science. Customization is somewhat limited, but you can create new channels from a preset selection of news sources.
If you're not looking for anything too specific, then SmartNews is a great way to get a hit of trending news on demand. Its Smart view also offers an effective reader mode, cutting stories down to a text-only view.
Google Play Newsstand: for the tried and true
Play Newsstand offers more the more you put into it, learning from your habits and inclinations to continually create a more pointed news feed that appeals to your interests. Its animations and UI are as slick as you might expect from a Google app, and overall it offers a very attractive package. As with SmartNews, the categories are sometimes overly generalized, which can make it difficult to find more specific sources of interest.
One thing Play Newsstand offers over the other apps on this page is a cohesive integration with magazine subscriptions available through the Google Play Store.
Your favorite publication’s app: for news you’re used to reading
Whether you prefer the New York Times or lean towards Fox News, CNN or the BBC, plenty of news organizations now have their own apps that you can install to make browsing their content way more convenient.
What app do you use to keep up to date on the news? If you think we've missed something, let us know in the comments.