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Middle East's leading newspaper, Khaleej Times, arrives on Windows Phone

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CNET comes to Windows Phone with all its Tech-Savviness

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Nextgen Reader updated for Windows 8, adds new Feedly Pro features and more

Windows 8 Apps+Games

Nextgen Reader for Windows 8 goes free, but for today only (Update: Price change rolling out with slight delay)

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Read your favorite newspapers with PressReader for Windows Phone and Windows 8

Windows 8 Apps+Games

Official IBNLive app for Windows 8 now available

Windows 8 Apps+Games

Firstpost’s digital newsroom now comes to Windows 8

Windows 8 Apps+Games

Nextgen Reader for Windows 8 updated to v2.1 - new features and fixes onboard

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Want all your news in Hindi? Grab the Navbharat Times app.

General News

How much do you love your Xbox? Man runs back into a fire for his

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Nextgen Reader gets updated with feed preview and more

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The Huffington Post releases official app for Windows Phone 8; leaves room for improvement

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Leading Hindi newspaper from India, Punjab Kesari releases a nice-looking app for Windows Phone

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Check out what's new in the massive Readit 1.3 update available for Windows Phone

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Deccan Chronicle, leading English daily from South India, arrives on Windows Phone

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Gorgeous Feedly client Phonly gets updated; includes buffer support and other improvements

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Gorgeous Weave for Windows 8 keeps you on top of latest news on a larger screen

Windows

Intel delivers low power fanless Core i3 CPU

Microsoft News

Microsoft to donate Office 365 to nonprofits worldwide

Windows Phone News

Interested in a Feedly app on Windows Phone? Join the open beta for Phonly

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7

Review: SPB News 2.0

One of the major benefits of having a mobile device is the ability to stay connected and have instant communication in many different forms. One problem that can come up with the relatively small devices that we carry is actually getting access to the vast amount of information that is available on the Internet. Every once in a while, evolutions in separate technologies sync up and complement each other extremely well. Such is the case with mobile devices and syndication.

For the uninitiated, syndication in the form of Atom or RSS feeds (you can find ours here) offers a simple method of gathering articles or news items from various places around the internet and centralizing them in a feed reader. We’ve featured a number of feed readers on WMExperts including Newsbreak, Viigo, FeedMe, and even Google Reader within Kinoma Play.

SPB software sets the standard when it comes to Windows Mobile software. SPB is updating their Insight RSS aggregator and giving us SPB News 2.0 for $19.95. A free upgrade will be available for owners of Insight.

The full review is after the break.

 

Setup

Setting up SPB News is all about getting your feeds configured. SPB gives you a number of different ways to do that. By using the menu and navigating to Channel, New Channel; you are presented with a number of options.

The first option allows you to browse SPB’s online catalog, which gives you a categorized view that is best used to find new content. Option #2 allows you to simply specify an RSS/Atom feed URL to add (this is one of my favorites). The third option allows you to search for a feed, presumably using the same online catalog. Option four utilizes OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language), which is an XML specification that allows for easy import or export of your feed list. This would be a good way to export your list from another application or web based reader and importing into SPB News. The last option is to import a “Local template”, which appears to let you import an XML file from the local storage on your device.

Ease of Use

SPB has been making a concerted effort to make their applications usable with stylus or finger, and continues to succeed. Either pointing method works equally well in navigating through your channels and items. I would have liked to see another layer added on top in order to better organize your feeds into categories. For those of us that follow 25 or more channels, it can be a little cumbersome to navigate.

Features

SPB News gives you a number of options for keeping your news items fairly up to date. The first option is by simply pressing the update button on the main screen. You can also configure News to run an update automatically when your device is cradled (yes people still do that). Scheduled updating is also available, though the maximum frequency is 1 hour, which can be a lifetime with some feeds.

One feature that I was particularly impressed with was a checkbox that detects what type of internet connection you are using and prevents you from updating over a connection that will cost you a fee. For those that are “connection challenged”, SPB News also allows you to fully download your feeds for later viewing.

Also available is a home screen plugin that displays your new items on your home screen. I personally prefer to keep my home screen clutter free, but I know that some people would find this to be a key feature.

Conclusion

Feed readers are one of those applications that are typically simple, but can be a life saver for the people that depend on them. SPB News 2.0 is a quality news reader that features a very finger friendly interface as well as some good options for how to update your feeds.

That being said, it is fairly expensive for a feed reader. It would’ve been nice to have the ability to put channels into folders; or even to synchronize the application with an online reader. If you’re using SPB Insight, I would definitely take advantage of the free upgrade. Also, if you depend on RSS feeds for your news intake, I would take the 15-day trial for a spin before you throw down your $19.95. Otherwise I would go for a free solution like Viigo or FeedMe.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Setup: 4
  • Ease of Use: 3.5
  • Features: 4

Overall: 4/5

Pros

  • Made by SPB
  • Adds convenience to reading the news

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Limited organizational options
  • Comparable free tools are available

 

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Reader comments

Review: SPB News 2.0

7 Comments

I have looked at all of these - and purchased more than one. For my $$$ Beyond Pod is the best one (it's free). It is fast, has a clean interface and automatically downloads audio and video podcasts - and it lets ME select what software gets used to play them....(Core and Core, respectively).

That what I use to.

SPB can take their overpriced crapware and shove it.

How much is SPB paying you to keep pimping there stuff anyway?

I would take the 15-day trial for a spin before you throw down your $19.95. Otherwise I would go for a free solution like Viigo or FeedMe.

Is that what you refer to as pimping?

I got the original Insight as part of one of SPB's larger packages at one point in the past. It was pretty nice, but not up to snuff with their usual offerings. My biggest gripe at the time was that it was a MAJOR battery hog if you followed a lot of feeds. I'll have to check this new version out and see if it's any better.

I've recently been using the amazing Kinoma for basic feed monitoring. While it's feed reading capabilities are currently in 1.x territory and don't allow full feed reads yet, I fully expect it will continue to improve just like all their other offerings have. Quite the amazing piece of software.

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