Hidden Gems: Expand your brain with Discovery News

Hidden Gems: A Week In the Life

A week in the life of Daniel Rubino, powered by Hidden Gems

With support from Microsoft (opens in new tab)

  1. Day 1 Fitness
  2. Day 2 Lifestyle
  3. Day 3 Travel
  4. Day 4 Video
  5. Day 5 News
  6. Day 6 Photos
  7. Day 7 Games

In 2015, technology is moving at a rapid clip in all areas of knowledge, whether it is neuroscience, genetics, computers, space or general biology. The modern age of news and the internet can be a blur of information, overwhelming the senses. Relying on your Facebook feed for supposed science news can be a risky gamble, especially with all the pseudo nonsense floating around.

Today, we are going to share with you the easiest way to keep informed and entertained without the fluff. The solution is Discovery News and their new app for Windows Phone.

Discovery News

Windows Phone (opens in new tab) Windows 8.1 (opens in new tab)

Back in January 2014, Discovery News, a branch of the Discover network that includes the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and more, launched an app for Windows 8. Fast forward to May 2015 and the company released a brand new and excellently designed app for Windows Phone.

In this day and age of sensational media, I find Discovery News a breath of fresh air. It is surprisingly hard to find a single, dedicated source of scienced-focused information. With Discovery News, not only you get the facts you need, you do not need a degree in science to understand them. Instead, it is written in an entertaining and accessible style.

Do you want to learn about the world through the tried and true scientific method? Then Discovery News sets you down that path. Plus it is fun!

Discovery News for Windows Phone

The Discovery News app for Windows Phone is in many ways the poster child for well-done Modern designs. It is fast, fluid, intuitive and just a joy to use. The app has five main sections, including:

  • Feature News/This just in
  • The Mind Blowers/The Must Reads
  • Video
  • Discovernator
  • Categories

Launching the app kicks you right into the Featured news and 'This just in' areas. This part is where you can find all the latest that is happening in the world of science scholarship. Consider this region your daily feed of what you need to know.

The Mind Blowers/Must Reads are selected articles by Discovery News that are truly the most fascinating and exciting bits. Think of this area as featured articles that you do not want to miss.

Tired of reading? Then check out the video section that breaks down news topics for you in an entertaining and concise manner. Videos are embedded at the top of articles with play and pause controls. Tilt your phone and you go to fullscreen in landscape mode.

Discovernator is the simplest of all areas in the Discovery News app. It delivers succinct and interesting facts right to your phone. Need another hit? Just tap 'More Please!' to request another one! If these bits of info do not pique your interest, then nothing will. Did you know there is a mathematical formula for the physics of a ponytail?

Finally, categories let you dive into more specific areas, including:

  • Tech
  • Space
  • Human
  • Earth
  • History
  • Animals
  • Adventure
  • Videos

Tapping on each area delivers that latest two stories for that category. Selecting 'More' brings you to a main page for that category, surfacing even more details such as:

  • Featured/Our faves
  • Top Lists
  • Videos
  • Subcategories

The amount of granularity here is impressive! You can dive deep into specific topics that you find interesting.

Cool features

There are a couple of things I really like about Discovery News and its app design.

  • Change the font size
  • Change the background color for text from white to black
  • Universal Share picker access for sharing articles
  • Pin topics to your Start screen for fast access
  • Univeral app for Windows and Windows Phone

Being able to change the font size and the background color is crucial. For one, it changes the look but if you are reading a lot, many people prefer the black background with white text. Not only can this preserve battery life on devices with AMOLED displays, but it is easier on your eyes.

_What good is reading something fascinating if you cannot share it with others? _Luckily Discovery News takes advantage of the Share picker in Windows Phone to let you copy the article title and weblink to any other app on your phone. Post to Facebook, Twitter, Messaging, Email, WhatsApp, etc.

Finally, if you are very much interested in a particular topic, like Tech or Earth, you can easily pin that area to your Start screen for one-click access to the latest on that theme. (Tip to the developers: Please let us pin the Discovernator to our Start screen with a Live Tile!)

Windows 8.1 too

Discovery News also leverages Microsoft's shared code feature for apps. This universality means the Windows 8.1 version is nearly identical to the one on the phone. Same design layout, same categories, identical news coverage.

This app is ideal for those with a Surface or Windows tablet with its bold and colorful design.

Stay informed, know the facts

Discovery News as a service and as an app is a well-done addition to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. Not only will you learn something, but you can do so in an entertaining and succinct way. The combined apps for Windows and Windows Phone make these articles very accessible and sharing the wisdom with your friends and family helps make the world a better – and less scary – place.

After all, knowledge is power!

Read and share the news!

Tweet at us how you get the latest in science and technology news and use the #HiddenGemsApp hashtag!

Tweet your #HiddenGemsApp science and tech favorites!

Day 5 sweepstakes:Win an HP Stream 7 tablet!

Enter to win 1 of 10 HP Stream 7 Windows 8.1 tablets!

HP Stream 7

It's video day of Hidden Gems, so we're giving away ten — TEN! — HP Stream 7 Windows 8.1-powered tablets!

How to Enter: To enter this Hidden Gems sweepstakes for your chance to win an HP Stream 7 tablet, simply login to Windows Central and leave a meaningful comment to this article (if you leave multiple comments only your first will be counted towards the sweepstakes entry). If you don't have an account you can register now for free – it only takes a minute.

The sweepstakes run through the end of June and the winners will be announced in early July. Full Hidden Gems Sweepstakes Rules can be found here. Thanks for participating, and good luck!

Follow Daniel for even more Hidden Gems

Twitter: @Daniel_Rubino

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • I use the Discovery app regularly on my tablet.  I didn't realize there was a WP version... awesome.
  • I tried to download it when it was first advertised on here but it just froze when trying to download
  • i really enjoy discover news on all my devices. its a very good, pretty and enjoyable to use
  • Even though it's getting old, the Stream 7 is a pretty good deal.
  • What's a good price for one right now? I've been on the verge of getting my dad a small tablet for a while now, especially with Windows 10 right around the corner. He doesn't need much and I think this would be a great fit for his needs, plus he enjoys using Cortana on my phone and I'm sure would love a device of his own to call her up.
  • It's on the Microsoft store for 79 dollars also can be found on ebay selling from Microsoft for the same price
  • I bought a Steam 7 for my 3 year old!! She is getting very good at using it. Ya i know she is only 3 but start them early and maybe by the time she is 5 she can fix my computers so I dont have to. It is cheap enough to be replaced and powerful enough to do what ever she and I need it to do. I feel this tablet is a MUCH better deal tham any android tablet out there.
  • Yeah, I bought one for $79 dollars. It also included Office 365 subscription and $25 credit for purchases on Windows/Phone store. Great deal. I now install Windows 10 preview on it.
  • I just bought the Signature edition from the Microsoft Store via Amazon for $79 with the 360 package and 60 minutes of Skype per month for a year, along with the $25 MS Store credit....  A killer deal if in need of a tablet..(as I am, having just missed a two month schduled appt thats now reschuduled another 2 months away)..  I really have to get organized...
  • Yeah, it's just a shame a large portion of us are ineligible to win it (US only again)
  • Now this is a true hidden gem. I just tried it out and am glad that I know about it. A real gem for knowledge savvy people.
  • Great app, though don't like the AutoPlay of videos.
  • It's a great app. Using it since day zero, when it was announced on Windows Central. I can recommend it to everyone :)
  • Oh boy , I love this app. The news and articles within this app are fantastic. Not only that the live tile looks so nice. This app sits row three on my start screen. This app is well coded to flow very nicely with WP.
  • Sooo......a news app ?
    For me news apps are probably the most interesting category of hidden gems as i spent almost 2 hrs everyday reading news ...
    coming to this app i personally feel that this app is actually an hidden gem in the store ..i have been using it for a while and really find it one of the best in its category..the rich sharing options won my heart on its first launch while the language is REALLY REALLY practical and rasy for an average person...this app really deserved spotlight and windows central gave it. A must have app for news readers , highly recommend to all.
  • i have so many news apps but i'll add the Discovery app to my collection and see how much i like it
  • nice, different kind of news.
  • gotta love discovery!
  • Found this app a little while ago. Something interesting to read or watch everyday. I especially enjoy the discovernator for quick factoids.
  • The video segment is the best and my favourite. It's what distinguishes it from the rest of the news apps out there. The overall look and feel is also great. Thumbs up.
  • I love DNews, I watch their YouTube videos all the time! ​
  • Wow, this is really impressive. The navigation is done really well. It seems that some of the icons/images are low quality though. I wonder if that's so lower end devices can support it or not. The animations for the category icons are also a nice touch. Im not sure how often you use soundcloud but for a very visually appealing and amazing app experience on windows phone I recommend Noiz. I found out about it last night and it's awesome! This app kind of reminded me of it because of how well they are both made. Thanks for sharing!
  • This app is nicely done. Shows what a great experience on windows phone should be.
  • I really enjoy the windows phone app, provides plenty of content for my on my break time. I will probably go check out the desktop app
  • Aren't these supposed to be "hidden" gems?
  • As noted in comments, not a lot people knew about this app.
  • I'm more worried that it seems more articles tell you select Show in Browser recently. Nullifies the apps purpose a bit. Something something browser something ad revenue.
  • I'm sure the tablet prizes were donated, but why would that bother you?  I already used the Discovery News app and guess how much I paid for it?  How much is anyone paying for it? Yup...ZERO.  Amazon is an entirely different beast.  As you pointed out, it's a SHOPPING site, thus they have an ethical responsibility to inform people of what is editorial and what is advertising. Contests have to be sponsored or they wouldn't exist. This also happens to be a very good application, that I frequently check and find interesting things to read and share.  I am not seeing any conflict of interest like I would if they were propping up "Instagram Beta".   I guess nothing good escapes the scorn of a cynic.
  • That's a stupid and baseless accusation. People complain we don't get enough app reviews, and now you're complaining when they do because it's "clearly" (not) a paid review. A lot of the apps being reviewed are completely free, so it would be a bit stupid for the developers to be paying just for a review of something when they likely won't get a ROI.
  • It IS "hidden".  "Hidden" doesn't mean that it never existed or that it's new, it just means that not everyone KNOWS that it exists to be look for and thus find it.
  • Right... hidden just above every top news app aside from weather apps. I don't expect EVERYONE to know about this one, but you're kidding yourself of you think it's a "hidden gem". It might be relatively new, but it's already been adopted pretty quickly by the community.
  • I'll install this very shortly; it appears reminiscent of the days of Beyond 2000, The Know Zone, and Next Step, when Discovery Thursday nights were approachable and full of hard science content. I miss those shows and hope this app does a good job of sating that hunger!
  • lol, I used to watch Beyond 2000 all the time on Saturday nights as a kid!
  • Look forward to trying out the Discovery News for windows phone.  Thanks. 
  • Been using Discovery News for a little while now on Windows