• Top 5 best free and worthy Google Reader alternatives for Android and iOS devices

    Posted on March 13th, 2013 David Brooks | No comments

    You must have heard of this: Google has announced to shut down Google Reader in July 1, 2013. “We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” the company said. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.” Google Reader lets users subscribe to and read feeds from all manner of publishers, in a format that resembles an e-mail in-box. Once the service is shut down, people who have been used to Google Reader have to turn to other alternatives. Today, I would like to share 5 free and worthy Google Reader alternatives with all Android and iOS users that are in need of Google Reader service. These 5 alternatives are all free for both Android and iOS devices.


    Feedly

    feedly

    Feedly is a new way to browse the content of your favorite sites, RSS feeds, tumblr blogs and YouTube channels ON VARIOUS Web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android. Instead of having to hunt down for information, Feedly uses RSS to aggregate the contents of the news sites you like and deliver them as a fast mobile-optimized experience.

    The Feedly mobile application is available for iOS (iPhone, iPad), and Android devices. All versions of the app run on Streets (DevHD’s other project), which allows for the application to run on the same code for all devices. Running the same code across multiple platforms lets the developers release updates faster because they are only working with one version. Like its web counterpart, the mobile application employs a minimalistic interface that imitates a magazine spread. However, unlike the browser extension, the Feedly app cannot load an entire article. Instead, it will present a summary, and a link to the actual article. The mobile application acts as a browser on its own, so any redirects happen inside the app itself, as opposed to opening a separate internet browser. Additionally, the application adapts to the user, and will recommend posts based on what the user has read or shared in the past.


    Pulse

    Pulse

    Pulse News brings all your favorite blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers in one place for FREE. Exciting to use, quick to read, ready to share. Tap on an article to see a clean and elegant view of the news story. Save stories for reading later across all platforms or sync them with Instapaper, Read it Later and Evernote. Sharing a story via Facebook, Twitter, Google + and email is as easy as one tap.

    Features:

    * NEW – Pulse Highlights: Highlights showcases the stories you care about, and it’s powered by the people you care about. Check out your Highlights feed by tapping ‘Highlights’ at the top of the left navigation bar. You’ll see stories shared by your friends, and you can add your own by tapping the blue Highlights icon at the bottom of any article.

    * Tablet support: Pulse is beautifully formatted and optimized for hundreds of Android devices – it is perfect for your resolution and size of the tablet.

    * Dual view: For each article on Pulse, you can switch between a clean summary of the article or go to the website directly. When you tap on an article, both are ready to view, almost instantly!

    * Offline sync: No internet? No problem. Pulse loads the news stories you read, and makes them available wherever you are.

    * Save Stories: Collect your favorite stories using your Pulse.me account. Send to Instapaper, Read it Later, Evernote and Google Reader, all in one tap.

    * Easy share: Found an interesting news article? Sharing a news story on Pulse via Email, Facebook, and Twitter is as easy as two taps.

    * Source Syncing: With your Pulse account, sync your favorite sources across your all your devices and platforms.

    * Integration with Google Reader: Pulse allows you to directly import all your RSS feeds from Google Reader. Your stories are synced with your Google account.


    Taptu

    Taptu

    Taptu is a social news feed reader that lets you Add, Remix, Search and Share streams from your favorite web sites, blogs and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can add your favorite sources and topics directly from our StreamStore (including importing from Google Reader), DJ them on StreamStudio and finally share the ones you like the most.

    Features:

    * Discover thousands of streams on your favorite topics from a wide variety of web sites, blogs, newspapers and magazines in the StreamStore;

    * Search for RSS Feeds using Bing or Import them from Google Reader;

    * DJ Your News: Do you have 5 different sports streams you follow? Merge them all together to create you own Sports stream and color code it to your liking. And why not share your new stream with your friends?

    * Search Streams: Are you a Lady Gaga fan? Search for Lady Gaga on the StreamStore and you can create a stream dedicated to all the news of Lady Gaga from Music streams or Fashion streams or a combination of both.

    * Search in Streams: Have you added the Games streams and you want to find reviews for Call of Duty? You can now search in any stream. Whats more you can save your search as a new Search Stream allowing you to follow all the news for Call of Duty as it comes out.

    * Discover Stories related to the one you are reading as well as Streams specific to the Topic/Genre the article you are reading about.

    * All types of Widgets: Lists, Cards and Stack widgets, even scrollable on Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb. Customize the size, the color, the frequency they update.

    * Add as many Facebook or Twitter accounts as you want, add your LinkedIn account as well.

    * Update your status, Like and Comment from your Facebook stream: See something a friend has sent that you want to Like or Comment on? Do it right inside the app.

    * Tweet, RT, Quote a Tweet from your Twitter stream: Someone you follow on Twitter has tweeted an interesting tweet, Quote it and add your comments or RT directly from Taptu.

    * Post a Status Update, Like and Comment from your Linkedin stream: A colleague or a friend of yours has posted something you think your own friends should know about, you can Like it or Comment on it from Taptu.

    * Share with friends: Share stories and streams with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

    * See full articles that friends share via Twitter and Facebook: Taptu will convert links your friends share into a full article view.

    * No time to read now? Bookmark articles to read later, or save to Instapaper and Read It Later. Press Reviews: VentureBeat: A deeper news reading experience than most competitors, in particular because I was able to easily combine news sourcesthe app also does a great job of recommending stories. The Register: A good news aggregator should be able to pull information from a broad range of sources, present it in a clear and easily navigable format, and make it as easy as pie to find, add, remove and edit feeds.


    Flipboard

    Flipboard

    If you’re not familiar with Flipboard, it’s a magazine-style news reader that has been wildly popular on iOS for quite some time. What gives it extra cool points is its ability to handle social media. See, Flipboard can integrate your social accounts into its feed, and present tweets or other status updates just as it would news stories or blog posts (complete with images and video thumbnails). Couple this with Flipboard’s gorgeous tiled interface, and it’s easy to see why the app is such a fan favorite.

    With its clean design, vibrant display of photographic tiles, and smooth page-flipping animation, Flipboard for Android is just as stunning as its iOS sibling. This visual appeal has always been the hallmark of the app.

    But Flipboard for Android isn’t just a pretty face. Functionally, it packs a punch, too, as it lets you add feeds from a number of different social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. You can compose status updates from within Flipboard, as well as share, retweet, +1, and Like others’ posts.

    As with other news reader apps, you can also add feeds from pretty much any news source or site with an RSS feed, or you can subscribe to a Flipboard-curated topic feed. Also, if you use a bookmarking service like Instapaper, Pocket, or Readability, you can integrate those as well.

    If you use Google Reader, you can load that up, too. However, Flipboard doesn’t let you swipe through individual sources within your Google Reader account, which is disappointing. Meanwhile, another app in the category, Feedly, handles Google Reader beautifully, as it can two-way sync, and even mark items as read with a quick swipe.

    One thing worth noting is that Flipboard for Android is not yet optimized for tablets. The image quality is less than stellar, and there’s no use of the functional side panels that might otherwise grace a tablet-specific app.

    Overall, I’m impressed with Flipboard for Android. Even with its few shortcomings, it’s still a gorgeous reader with the flexibility to handle all of your social media. And if that’s not enough, it comes with two different widgets, so you can access your Cover stories right from your home screen.


    Google Currents

    Google Currents

    Google Currents delivers beautiful magazine-like editions to your tablet and smartphone for high speed and offline reading.

    Features include:

    * Publisher editions – Publishers such as Forbes, The Guardian, TechCrunch, PBS, Saveur, and more have produced hundreds of editions including full length, in-depth articles, videos, fine photography, and slideshows. Editions are free – covering news, business, lifestyle, fashion, sports, science, technology, design, food, entertainment and more.

    * Fast scan – A new navigation mode lets you quickly swipe vertically to discover unread stories within an edition, swipe horizontally to move to the next edition within a category. Or, use the “sidebar” to jump ahead to a specific edition.

    * Breaking stories – Google Currents uses Google search technology to deliver the hottest breaking stories in categories such as world, entertainment, sports, science, and more. As you travel to different countries, additional breaking stories are added to match your location.

    * Saved stories – Run across an in-depth article that you want to read later, or a special recipe you want to keep? Star any story to be saved for later, in your personal Saved stories edition.

    * Your favorite blogs and feeds – Instantly, turn your Google Reader subscriptions, or any of your favorite blogs/feeds into a beautiful edition with a magazine feel.

    * Translate – Currents uses Google translate technology to translate editions into a preferred language of your choice. 44 languages are supported.

    * Widget – Immediately see fresh news on your android home screen with the Google Currents widget.

    Each edition is available for high speed offline reading, and provides quick-touch sharing. Google Currents self-adapts to differently sized phones and tablets, with subscriptions synchronized across devices. Google Currents – a reading experience not to be missed.

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  • Top 8 most popular and useful applications for all smartphones

    Posted on May 17th, 2012 David Brooks | No comments

    In the fast developing electronic market, more and more wonderful smartphones have emerged to make life even more convenient and relaxed. There’re a lot of smartphones for people to use for better leisure life enjoyment, just like to upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 3 and Apple iPhone 5. Smartphones have played an essential role in our daily life, for either communication or personal entertainment. What makes it even better is that there’re so many applications out there to fulfill our smartphones and make our handsets more useful. However, such many applications may puzzle users and make them unclear which ones to be set up on their smartphones. Personally, I think users should prepare various applications for their smartphones: some are to be set up on smartphones while some others have to be set up on computers. Well, here I have collected some suggestions and finally sum up these suggestions into a top 8 suggestion list. Take a look at these suggestions as you like.

    Top 8 Smartphone apps

    1. Amazon Kindle: This application is suitable for users who would like to read e-books on their large screen smartphones. With this application, you could freely read e-books on the move. It’s free to download and install. This application will save you from forking out as much as 150 for the reading device alone. The Amazon Kindle enables you to shop for, download, browse and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs and other digital media through wireless networking. It could read PDF files just like reading a real book.

    2. Instagram: It’s quite common for us to take pictures with our smartphones. After shooting pictures, we might want to share them with others. That’s why Instagram becomes popular, a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a filter and share it on the series or a variety of social networking services like Twitter and Facebook. This application is compatible with iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 3.1.2 or above. It is homage to both the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras, confines photos into a square shape.

    3. Video Editor: By taking pictures or photos and shooting video clips with smartphones, a video editor would produce even more fun to these photos and videos. A video editor should actually process both pictures and videos. But it has to be set up on a computer for your smartphone.

    4. Drop Box: An excellent free application to store your files, including photos, docs and videos. When you have installed Dropbox on your computer, the files your saved in Dropbox will automatically save to all your iPhone, iPad, and computers and even the Dropbox website. You can take everything that matters to you on the go without worrying missing any important files.  You can read your documents, flip through your albums, or share your saved photos and videos with your friends via Dropbox easily.

    5. Video Converter: About smartphone video entertainment. Sometimes we may want to watch movies or HD videos on our smartphones to kill the long boring train journey or flight night. But different smartphones supports different video formats. We can’t be sure to download every video or movie in the format our handsets support. In this case a Video Converter is a big helper, which could easily convert videos between different formats. Of course, this app should be set up on computers.

    6. Evernote: This application is like a multitask program which helps you manage your arrangement. Evernote is an easy-to-use application that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. This application lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders and make these notes completely searchable whether you are at work, home or anywhere else.

    7. Facebook:A social network tool is a must have tool on your smartphones nowadays, either Facebook or Twitter, or any other ones. More than 65 million people are now actively using Facebook on their mobile phones, while Twitter is a social media site for people who don’t care for social media but want to stay connected with friends and current events.

    8. Angry Birds: In fact, what I mean here is that you could set up the game you like most on your smartphone, just like Angry Birds. Angry Birds has been the most popular smartphone application such as the iPhone which involves a flock of irate wingless birds having dominated the attention of users this year.

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  • Top 10 iPhone Augmented Reality Applications to Enhance User Experience and Easy Users’ Life

    Posted on March 29th, 2011 David Brooks | No comments

    Along with the fast development of the internet, various demands from users are gradually explored. In the great popularity of Apple iPhone and iPad, augmented reality applications have attracted enormous attention in current market. What are augmented reality applications? Generally speaking, augmented reality applications are the utility software that can enhance the reality information perception for users with virtual internet resources so to help people in different businesses.

    heads up navigation

    These augmented reality apps could help users conveniently find out restaurants, service stations around them with their smart mobile phones like iPhone. Users could write comments and share their comments with other users via link. With some augmented reality app users could only place their iPhone to a direction, and then the iPhone would tell users subway stations and the public transport lines to that direction. Here, I would like to list some top 10 most useful augmented reality apps for iPhone, all of which helps a lot in people’s daily life.

    ARSoccer

    ARSoccer could virtualize a 3D soccer. Whenever you go, you are kicking a 3D soccer. Really fantastic for football fans. Free on Apple App Store.

    ARSoccer

    Car Finder

    Car Finder is used to help drivers easily find out the spare parking lot around them. Also free on Apple App Store.

    Car Finder

    Golfscape GPS Rangefinder

    This AR app would tell you the distance of the next hole and suggest you which golf club should be used. It costs US $19.99 on App Store.

    Goftscape GPS Rangefinder

    Layar

    Layar lets you download plugins to view places, tweets, deals, and photos around you. Free on Apple App Store.

    Layer

    Metro AR Pro

    Wherever you are, Metro AR Pro could tell you the metro station position around you. Priced at US $2.99 on Apple App Store.

    Metro AR Pro

    Spyglass

    Spyglass is used to measure the distance between your position the target position you have pointed out. US $3.99 is needed on Apple App Store.

    Spyglass

    Star Walk

    Star Walk is an “interactive astronomy guide” that allows you to point your iPad into the sky and see real-time images pointing you to constellations, stars, and planets via your device’s compass, GPS, and gyroscope. App Store price: US $4.99 for iPad, US $2.99 for iPhone and iPod.

    Star Walk

    Wikitude

    Wikitude has been considered as a “World Browser”, which could show you the surrounding environment and related information about a certain placemark. This AR app is free on Apple App Store.

    Wikitude

    Yelp

    Yelp tells you the distance of the restaurant around you, restaurant direction and the consumption level of the restaurant. Free on App Store.

    Yelp AR

    Zipreality

    An AR app which could provide detailed information about the housing price around you. Free on App Store.

    Zipreality

    Now that you have got the most useful augmented reality apps for your iPhone, iPad or iPod, make perfection for your gadgets to experience more and easy your life.

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