November 23, 2014

App Review: BlueRSS

FullArticleIf, like me, you regularly use RRS feeds to keep up to date with new web content, it is important that you can access the content quickly and easily on your phone. There are a few apps available that allow you to do this and one of them is BlueRSS by Blue Gorilla Team.

I use Google Reader to collate all my feeds from several pages and accessing this on my PC is quite painless. It doesn’t look the best but it does what it needs to. On Android you can access the mobile version of Reader through your browser but if you haven’t got a connection then you obviously can’t catch up on your updated content. Having a reader app on your Android phone allows you to store your articles offline so you can view them without accessing the web. This is one of the features of BlueRSS which is a neat little RSS reader application. It looks nice, although blue and black may not be to everyone’s taste.

Set up is straight forward, sign in to your Google Reader account and select which feeds you want to import, or enter the address of the feed you want to include. The feeds then show up on the main screen and a small button tells you how many unread articles there are in each feed. Clicking on the feed opens it up and shows you the articles but the default is set to show all feeds even if read, so changing this by pressing the menu button and clicking the “show” button will only show you the articles you haven’t read.  Unfortunately it seems to revert back to the “show all” view when you leave the feed and this is a bit of a pain (unless I am doing something wrong).

Unread articles also have a green button next to them and this turns blue when you have read it. The articles look nice when you open them, the light grey text is a nice size although the option the change the font size would help people who may struggle to read it. Images show up nicely and there is an option to go to the article at the original website. You can also scroll through the articles by clicking the arrow left or right on the screen to scroll through them and you can mark articles as favourites. The option to share the articles would be nice and also the articles don’t two-way synchronize with Google Reader. If you read the feeds within the app, they still appear on Google Reader as unread. Two way synching would go down a treat. You can play podcasts if you subscribe to the feed but when you play them they just play with a blank screen which doesn’t look great. You can also search for feeds and subscribe to them within the application.

You can chose between 10 and 100 feeds to be shown and chose the background sync time of between 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes or even turn off background synching. Again it would be useful to have more options here as some people may want less or more time between syncs. Notifications are also present if you want to be notified when new articles appear and a nice touch is the widget. This is a basic widget that displays unread articles one by one. It displays the title of the post and you can scroll through them and clicking it opens the feed within BlueRSS.

All in all this is a nice looking app and works well but there are some key features missing for me. I would love two-way synching and I want to be able to choose my default views when clicking on feeds. There are a few reports of crashes when importing too many Google Reader feeds and with some video playback but I didn’t have many problems when using it. Sort out some of the missing features and I may move from NewsRob quite readily.

BlueRSS is currently available for free within the Android Market.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chuckfalzone chuckfalzone

    I really want to use an app like this, and there are several (Greed, NewsRob), but here's my problem with All the GReader sync apps that I'm aware of: you have to give a third party your Google login information. That's a nonstarter for me. That one login/password combo would give someone access to my primary email acct. AND my credit card info (via Google Checkout).

    Shouldn't it be possible to set it up so login opens the browser and takes you to a google.com page to authorize the app? I will pay a non-trivial amount of money to whoever develops a Google Reader app that handles login that way.

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