Gear We Like
Review: Flipboard for Android
The creators of the iPad app of the year in 2010 have finally brought that same goodness to Android smartphones. We’ve been testing the beta for a few weeks already, and today they have released the final version to the Google Play store. Here is our review of Flipboard for Android.
What is Flipboard?
If you dig the news or the best of blogs while you’re on the go, Flipboard does its part by making it easier to read them. At its core, it is all about giving articles and blogs a cool magazine-type feel, and an intuitive flip gesture to skip to the next article.
To start, you can add particular topics, blogs, or sites from the red magnifying glass at the top. Flipboard keeps a list of some of the best stuff on the web for you. Sites like The Verge, The Economist, Longreads and BBC all take center stage, but you’ll find plenty more gems including friends of TMA such as Landlopers, TLWH, The Planet D and WildJunket as well. Take it a step further by logging into your Twitter, Facebook, Google+,or YouTube accounts, and you’ll see all of the links that appear in those feeds shared by your friends in your Flipboard too. It’s a brilliant way to see what everyone is talking about in one place.
Navigating is a snap (or actually a flick). Flick up or down to ‘flip’ the pages, and tap when you find something of interest. Some sites are formatted specifically for Flipboard, and keep with the ‘flip’ feel, while others you scroll up and down the page. Most pages are formatted for your smartphone including images, making them easy to read. Swipe to the right to go back to the main screen.
Sharing the News with Flipboard
What good is reading on your smartphone if you can’t share, and Flipboard makes it easy. Twitter has solid integration, so you can easily retweet, reply or favourite. If Twitter isn’t your thing, fear not. Facebook & Google+ posts allow you to “Like” (+1) or comment right from the app. Finally, if you just want to share a link, you can share to any app in your Android system with a click.
Tips, Tricks, and Fixes
For those long articles, or for the ones which you just don’t have the time to finish now, a few read-it-later options are available. Choose Instapaper, Pocket, or Readability from the settings menu and you can read them at you leisure. We wish that Spool was among the options, but if you use it or another now supported, you can still access it though the “share to’” option in Android.
Now that you’re a pro (you’re that good), you can easily add other feeds from all over the web to your Flipboard. Using your favourite “Technology for Travel” site Too Many Adapters as an example, you can type the site name / social media profile into the search field from the same red magnifying glass mentioned above. What you get is a list of all things Too Many Adapters, including our Facebook page, Google+ page, RSS and Twitter. Click any of those to view, or the “+” to add it to your Flipboard. It’s easy to add any site or feed with the search.
There is always room for improvement, and Flipboard for Android is no different. I’ve found the graphics glitch occasionally with the hardware-accelerated graphics on the Galaxy Nexus. Google Reader is supported, but unless you add individual feeds or folders, it’s a mess to navigate through hundreds of articles. Offline caching isn’t available for those of us with spotty Wifi / 4G connections, a feature that Pulse touts. Finally, this release is only for Android smartphones, so the few of you using an Android tablet or a Windows phone are still out of luck.
We’re big fans of Flipboard for Android, and the wait has been worth it. Flipboard for iPad was once a morning staple for me, and now it’s even more portable with Android smartphone support.