Want a neat new way to keep up to date with news, sports & weather on your Android? Buzz Deck delivers that, plus links to social networks and more!
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App Judgment Producer Eileen Rivera asked me to find a good RSS-based news reader for Android. I've been looking, but so far I'm not happy with anything I've found. But I did stumble across today's application, which I really like. It's a brand new, well designed news and social aggregator - the first program from developer Mippin. The program itself is modeled after a deck of cards. Buzz Deck includes 20 or so content-specific cards, grouped around topics, like Gaming, news, football, gadgets and technology. Each card is regularly populated with stories from a variety of sources, including The New York Times, ESPN, Joystiq, the BBC, Engadget and more. Sources are decidedly British, though - as the "Football" deck - at least once during testing - showed off what we would call "Soccer" stories here in the US. A few hours later, though, the Football card had revered to American Football, but the UK roots were definitely showing from time to time.
Navigating from topic to topic is easy - with just a flick of the finger. Tap the topic "card", and you'll get a screen full of headlines. Tap the headline to read the story. You can easily flip from story to story, and from topic to topic, with a flick of your finger. Although Buzz Deck controls the content sources, you can tell it which stories you like, which presumably will lead to more from that source, or about that content. Adding a new "card", or a new topic is also simple - press the PLUS button at the end of your card stack to see the entire library of pre-defined cards.
New cards are being added all the time - when I first loaded the application there were only a handful of cards, but today there are 23 news stream cards, along with new social application cards for Facebook, Twitter, Linked in and more.
Today's HAotD isn't just one, two... or three apps; it's a whole marketplace full of apps!
There's even a new card for Google Reader - which sort of answers Eileen's original challenge of finding a news reader for Android!
For most "decks", the program caches content locally - and you can set the refresh interval in the config screen. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to cache Google Reader content, which means lengthy delays if you have a lot of subscriptions. The Google Reader card was also a bit buggy when I tried it - it took me three or four tries before it remembered my password, and I couldn't go "back" from the card to the deck directly - I had to flick over to an adjacent card first.
There are other limitations. First, you can only have ten cards loaded on your deck - I quickly bumped up against that limitation. Second, when you've zoomed into a card, there's no header that tells you which card you're viewing, which can easily get you confused if you flick from card to card without going back up to the deck view.
I'd really like the ability to create my own "CARD" with my own content sources, perhaps via an uploadable OPML file. If Buzz Deck can do that, and fix the 10 card limitation, this would truly be a five star product.
My bottom line? Well first, this is a free application, and it was just released - and it keeps getting better every day. If you need a well designed way to keep up with news, facebook and other information, give it a shot.
Definitely Download - this one is useful today, and has great promise for tomorrow.