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Why you need Breaking News for Windows 8 and Windows Phone

Like a lot of people who are always connected, knowing what is happening in the world at this moment is a priority for me. Sure, I can load up an RSS news feed and pull down some published news stories, but what about the breaking stuff, the things happening right now? The internet is a powerfully fast tool for delivering information. Having a steady stream of breaking bulletins is the logical end of that technology, and Breaking News is that service.

Breaking News ( is owned by NBC News Digital, though it operates as a separate entity. What makes it unique though is it’s not just a stream of “stuff” coming in that you have to make sense of. Nor do you have to configure anything. Instead, there are a team editors who curate, fact check and maintain the feed, making sure only scrutinized content gets through.

From the site:

“Everything is still vetted by our team: the fastest, most accurate, and most neutral team of breaking news professionals in the world. Our editors in New York, London and Seattle discover the news as soon as it happens, wherever it happens. Look for our "editors on duty" at the top of the site or app to see who's bringing you the news.”

It kind of reminds of the simplicity of Drudge Report, but without the bias or a heavy focus on US politics, which can be a turn off for some. Check out their promo video above, which echoes the Howard Beale character from the 1976 movie ‘Network’. The best line from their satire laden promo video?

“Today, news is everywhere. It’s coming at you from all sides, your TV, your computing machine, your telephone. Real news…all mixed up with a picture of a cat wearing a necktie like a grown man.”

There’s no commentary, just the headlines with links to the story. That’s if there is a story. Often, the news is so fresh, it’s just a headline, a Tweet or something off the AP Wire. That’s the fun of Breaking News; you feel like you’re watching things happen, live.

You can mute topics that you have no interest in, Share via email, Twitter, or SMS and add topics to your own area to track specific issues.

The Apps

The Breaking News service has apps on just about every platform, but we’re concerned with Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Luckily, the app is on both platforms, and they’re my go-to apps for the latest bulletins.  When I use them, especially on Windows 8, I feel like this is what technology in the information age was meant to do.

The Windows Phone app works on all versions of the OS, including 7.x, and it has a wide tile with push notifications. Don’t worry, you only get a push alert if it’s something really dramatic that has major implications. You won’t get an alert for each headline, which would be annoying. If I had to guess, I’d say you only get a couple of Toast notifications a week, if that.

The app itself is very minimalist. It’s just a giant list of, well, breaking news. Tapping on the story will give you the full headline, date and URL to the source. Sliding to the right, and you get a related section with similar tags for the same topic. The Share button is at the bottom. It’s a no frills app, but that’s kind of the point—just give me the headlines.

Snapped headlines? Yes, please...

On Windows 8, the app also features small, medium or wide Tile choices. Unfortunately, the app has not yet been updated for 8.1 yet, but you can still snap the app to the side to keep a running view of the headlines (see screenshot above). And that’s why I really like this app and service: when split on Windows 8 I can continue to surf the web, write or edit a photo while those headlines stream in.

Like the phone app, you also get notifications for urgent news with the Modern app. Sure, Bing News does this too but from my experience, each and every time Breaking News comes minutes before Bing does. That’s kind of a big deal.

My only complaint with these apps is they have not been updated to take advantage of new features. The Windows Phone Breaking News app could do something with the Lock Screen for notifications, headlines (detailed status area), images or even counts. Likewise, it's not optimized for 1080P display devices like the Lumia Icon or Lumia 1520, so you get black bars at the top. Lame. I get that companies are strapped for resources, and Windows 8 and Windows Phone don’t exactly dictate a large audience, but I’m hoping they refresh the apps sometime soon.

And in case you’re wondering why you should use this instead of Bing News, well, you missed the point. Breaking News is a different beast, stripped down, urgent and topical. So this isn’t an either/or with Bing News and Breaking News, but rather I use them together. And if you’re a news junky, then you’ll do the same.  Just load both of them up and check out the headlines, you'll quickly see that Breaking News has very different content, with little overlap. One isn't better than the other, they're just different tools.

Breaking News is free on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. You can find the links below. Let us know if you’ve tried them and what you think.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • If only *THIS* was breaking news.
  • lol
  • Doesn't Bing news do something like this?
    Edit: ok, so after going through the app a SECOND time, and looking through them both, I can see that I got a fluke somewhere. I received a breaking news alert from Bing News about Ukrainian troops pulling out of Crimea, then I read this article, downloaded the app, and the first headlines were.... That's right, Ukrainian troops pulling out of Crimea. Based on that, it was a fair assumption that these apps were the exact same thing, so I pointed out to Daniel that from my experience, they were the same app, but they just looked differently. So, everyone, just calm your tits, it's been settled. Especially you, NH3MAN.
  • The should read the words I wrote.
  • I did. If you had replaced breaking news with Bing news, I wouldn't have noticed a difference. It gives you top stories and there's a tab that you can click in settings to give you breaking news alerts.
  • If you can't see a difference, then this conversation is ended. They are very different apps.  Bing News does not have the same breadth and scope for breaking headlines as this app. Not even close. If Bing News is all you need, awesome. This article wasn't for you.
  • Obviously they look different, but they offer the same functionality.
  • No, no they don't. You're just wrong. Or your definition of "news" and "breaking" is very, very loose.
  • Well, I define breaking news as news that just happened, and under the various categories, there are lots of news articles that just happened. Hell, an hour ago, I got an alert about Ukraine surrendering to Russia in Crimea. That's before I heard it on the radio or anything. I'd say that's pretty breaking.
  • Load up Bing News and head to headlines. Load up Breaking News and watch the stream. They will not overlap by even 20%. End of story.
  • This gives you, as the name implies, *breaking* news. Info that has only minutes been live. As Dan said, it may only be a single headline or tweet, because not enough time has passed to type an entire article, fact check and edit. This is news as it happens, not lengthy articles offering opinion and consequences.
  • +1 I'm convinced Jas00555 has not really used Breaking News, as this is more than obvious to anyone who uses it for a few minutes.
  • Not to pile on but I don't think he really read your article or he is a speed reader who's comprehension gets limited.  You plainy detailed the difference but his first question was "doesn't Bing do something like this".  And he seems to only be getting half of what you are saying and then there is his take on the Crimea story: "Ukraine surrendering to Russia in Crimea" 
    Is that really what just happened?
  • I always read the article before commenting. Daniel said it was different, I didn't think it was, so I made a point. Also, I have no idea what the second half of your comment means, but yes, I got a breaking news alert about Crimea from Bing News, then heard about it a little bit later on the news, so I didn't see the point of this app since both give breaking news. Daniel seems to think they're different. I disagree. Yes, that is what happened.
  • I to get a breaking news alert from Bing news. I got the same alert about Crimea.
  • I believe he is trolling as you made the troll invitation at the end of the article.
  • So defensive.
  • Seriously, these guys write opinion pieces and get real uptight these days.
  • I would too, if my own readers constantly attacked and questioned my articles(not referring to poster above). It gets grating. I don't even write the articles and it pisses me off. Seeing as WPC is probably the biggest resource for WP news, having idiot posters os part of the territory. Countless times where a WPC article has been linked elsewhere, I've seen the commenters on that site(reddit etc.) just LAUGHING at some of the stupid comments. I could actually name some of the worst offenders.
  • Interesting, so the author can write an opinion ad, and no one is supposed to disagree? Fascinating.
  • Who says you can't disagree? Have I deleted posts? Banned people? What you don't like, evidently, is when I respond back to them. Or mention how I already answered that point in the article. 
  • By all means, promote some debate. But don't ask what's already been answered, don't ask when the Black update will be available in India, don't post useless drivel like "+920" etc. All that degrades the quality of the comment section and makes me avoid it sometimes. There's some quality posters who are capable of having decent discussion, but they're mostly outweighed by stupid nonsense. The forums are packed to the gills with helpful, passionate people, but the comments tend to attract a different breed for some reason.
  • +920
  • Damn you.
  • No, I don't thinks thats it. I think its just the fact that so many times people jump in with questions that are plainly answered in the article and then its three answers for someone who clearly either didn't read anymore than the headline or read through it half assed.  I get frustrated just seeing it so I know I would not have any patience with dumb assed questions from people too lazy to read what I took the time to write.... Just sayin!
  • No, it's more about how I answer things like why this is different/better than Bing News and then someone asks that question in comments, even though I took the time to pre-answer it for them. It has nothing to do with disagreeing with me, it's simply ignoring things I wrote or addressed.
  • Yeah, that too. So many redundant comments that could be answered if they took the time to read a few short sentences. I think the only available solution is to get Jay to implement a electric shock that sends 50, 000 volts through the arm of anyone who asks a question that's already been addressed in the article
  • lol, looking into it
  • Even when we read the articles, if someone makes what they thought was a good comment or question regarding the article, there's an indescribable amount of sarcasm and wit in the responses. There's no need to be rude, just make a simple comment or don't make one at all.
  • ^This!
  • This isn't a referendum. If you don't like comments, then don't participate. If you don't want me to point out something stupid you said, don't participate. If you think I'm rude (as opposed to being curt) then I'll accept that, but I've been here since 2007 and things aren't changing on my end.
  • I'm passionate about feeds and high value RSS content as well so I can understand how frustrating this would be when people don't see the light
  • Did you get a bee under your bonnet or is it that time of month? You know... The day all your bills go out.
  • This!  ^^^ (Edit: I was replying to Milkytee) "Yeah, that too. So many redundant comments that could be answered if they took the time to read a few short sentences. I think the only available solution is to get Jay to implement a electric shock that sends 50, 000 volts through the arm of anyone who asks a question that's already been addressed in the article"
  • Maybe his wallet chain is too tight.
  • I'm sorry, but are you attacking his fashion?
  • LOL
    Yeah, I'm a bully. Sue me.
    It's a joke bro.
  • I like the way Bing News handles "breaking news", because it rarely goes off and only when its something big.
  • How does this compare to AP Mobile? AP Mobile really does have breaking news.
  • +928  
  • Super rare I see Bing send a notification
  • Jas00555 Your question is plainly pre-answered in the article.  He says something like 'for people who say doesn't Bing News do the same thing then no its just breaking news headlines and usually is more timely with them'.  So no Bing News is different because it is much more about regular news and it doesn't break the news as fast or the same news every time.  I got that on first read and haven't reread yet. 
  • He added that after I wrote my question. Get your facts straight.
  • Oh Jesus people cant we all just chill? I mean the really only right one is Daniel..i mean he wrote it and all...
  • No push alerts on WP? I'll stick with Bing news.
  • Whaa? Breaking News has push alerts. I even detailed them in the article, noting they're faster than Bing News.
  • If it's news, then its already happened. How does a couple of minutes matter unless it does predictions.
  • Seriously? It's a big deal if you want all the latest headlines. Look, clearly this app isn't for you as Bing News is good enough. Fine. This is for news junkies. 
  • I'm a news junkie and i want it as fast as twitter.  I haven't tried it yet but this sounds perfect for me.  After I am alerted if I need more info I will bing it ;-D
  • I would like to know before it happens!
  • Not listed in app permissions. Interesting.
  • I just pin their twitter breaking news from people hub.
  • Isn't every news a Breaking News? And if it isn't broken who breaks it?
  • Something about having their name, Breaking News makes me wanna use their service more than any news. And twitter gives you the fastest new news delivered to you. But this article was about needing their app in wp store. But I just follow them on twitter and pin it on my start screen so I don't really need an app :)
  • I'm sorry, but an app that hasn't been updated for a year is not worth advertising for imo.
  • ...and yet I use it every day. So, I disagree.
  • I mean by principle kinda. Practically it may be fine.
  • That's fine and it's why I highlighted that as a criticism. My hope is that if people do find this app interesting or useful, the developers will see that people want to use it, ergo update it. We've never really mentioned the app here, at least not recently, but it's one of my top 5 apps on Windows Phone and Windows 8, hence why I decided to write on it.
  • I love how you defend your argument so well Daniel, truthfully you just word it so well people dont know what to say, its honestly brilliant.
  • Not to disagree with the breaking news aspects of this article but in the uk I get regular and useful toast alerts for breaking news with Bing News. Not sure how much this app would add, though accept that Daniel appears to use them in tandem.
  • Haha. Well, judging by the comments it looks like this ad will have me downloading Bing News.
  • Owned by NBC is all I need to know. Nothing but liberal BS with a few neutral stories mixed in.
  • Or you could try the app, see that it's just headlines, with no commentary and not just stories originated by NBC...
  • NBCis just as biased, if not more, as Drudge, just in the liberal direction. I guess that kind of bias is now socially acceptable.
  • What a ridiculous uninformed comment. And MSN more often than not links to Fox News and Sports. While I do cringe knowing that it is likely filled with conservative crap, I judge all the articles on their own merit and realize this type of news is streamed from multiple sources and all news comes generally from actual news services such as the API etc. This is worth taking a look at. Thanks Daniel.
  • Glad you get it ;) It's a fun app, something different. Split view on Windows 8 is pretty fun, as you can watch things stream in.
  • How is his comment uninformed. Nivekv makes a very astute observation based in the silly remark made by the author of this article who like an ignoramus declares that the drudge report is biased. What makes the author think that other news outlets are of a balanced in their views.
  • Yes, After reading so many comments similar to his Drudge comment its definitely true that Daniel has to be blatantly liberal as are it seems a majority of techies and it is a little unprofessional to be so obvious about it. I have learned to overlook it so much that the comment didn't seem out of place, haha. Its hilarious that they think NBC or even Bing News is not biased when compared to Drudge like as if just because its NBC it would not be biased even though 85% of the people who run it or work for it are extremely liberal Democrats elitists. Unbiased, yea right ;)
  • I might think the same thing because its NBC but Bing has a pretty liberal bend on articles they highlight however it seems to me that breaking news can really have no bias even in Bing as its just breaking news....
  • Is the the same New York Broadcasting Company (NBC) that spent 30 minutes on the Board walk fire and 3 minutes on multiple communities being wipe out by a flood in Colorado.
  • No.
  • This is probably the most debated article I've ever seen on here...and its about a news app....damn...
  • Thanx Daniel, I'll give it a try.
  • For those of you familiar with both apps, how does this app compare with Newser?
  • After reading the comments, I figured I'd give it a try and see which side is right on this argument... So here is my take: I used Bing news a lot and when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. And after having Breaking News installed, I can say that I will continue to use Bing news a LOT. Why? Because I like good news stories. But I will also use Breaking News a LOT, because I love how the live tile updates and I love that it simply provides news fast, no matter what topic. So I am with Dan on this one. The one certainly doesn't replace the other and if you really like news, just use them both...
  • Good man. Both are great apps, just different tools that do different things. For many people, Bing News is more than enough. But I love having the split view with Breaking News on my Surface or desktop, it's just something different.
  • Need to install it on my surface too. Right now I just have it on my 1520 and while you are right (the black bar sucks) it accompanies Bing news very well... And if someone doesn't get it... Well, not my problem :)
  • I have used them since I had a iPhone - always checking it, now if they would just do the upgrade that they did to it on the iPhone it would be even better - I have asked and they say it is coming 
  • Good to know. Yeah, I really want the Custom Alerts and Whoa feature. Hope they come soon.
  • Well, since this is an American app I have to ask: what's the political affiliation of the team that "curates" the news? I know NBC is part of the american left-wing media, but since this is an independent team...
  • I've not noticed any lean left or right in what makes it to the app stream. They just seem to just deliver news period.
  • Thanks. I'll give it a go.
  • More conservative crap..say hi to team stupid!!
  • Yes, I am a conservative and proud of it. And you are the kind of idiot that gives the left-wing a bad name.
  • And I am independent, don't care about the fighting of either of you and would advice to let WPC be pretty much the only place left where not every freaking thing has to be political. Now we covered it all and can put it to rest.
  • I didn't try to bring politics. And I don't much care for people's political inclination outside political debate forums. I just made a question simply based on the fact that American journalism has openly political inclinations. And so I think it's good to know that before hand. Unfortunately, idiots like "sir x wing", can't answer a normal question without rudly attacking the political views of others even if they didn't advocated any. And that's a pity.
  • Wow, things are hot here, I also will give it a try on this Breaking News, particularly Im not so fan of Bing News.
  • Yeap, pretty much different apps. Bing News is more focused on article news, detailed news (not that they can't be fast on news), Breaking News its more focused on just really really news (real time). Sure, the app have to be updated, there some issues, but is really nice, I'm gonna use it with Nextgen Reader.
  • a customizable twitter feed. you can to the same with custom lists natively via twitter.
  • This is more than just a customizable Twitter feed though. For instance, there's no setup here. Just streaming, breaking news on all topics. You *can* add in specific topics and follow those, your choice. But TBH, I don't even use that, I just watch the stream of all news.
  • the idea to get the "breaking" news is strange. they are mainly less important but fresh ones. i prefer to use dedicated apps with a lot of features. for international news i use Russia Today app and for the local, the app. for the IT/WP/Tech ones i prefer to use Phonly.    
  • If you're in the US, there is a lot of value to reading the news from other countries, especially Europe.
  • I've been using Breaking News since the first version on WP7. I swear by it as the best breaking news stream that includes not just news, but tech, entertainment and sports as well.
  • Headlines schmedlines. That's what I say.
  • Wow. Crazy comments in here. Anyway, thanks for the article Daniel - I've been looking awhile for an app just like this. As someone else mentioned (and you specifically mentioned in the article) Bing News serves a different purpose - it provides a slick way to read news. This app focuses on a quick blast of incoming news, which one can expect to be further developed and reported later (in apps such as Bing News). Anyway, didn't mean to meander on, just wanted to say I appreciate info on the app even though is hasn't been updated lately. Thanks.
  • Meander all you want. Glad you enjoy the app! 
  • Not available in my region. Do they only publish local news? And why is there Voices Admin picture in the article?
  • Anything has a greater scope in news stories than a feed curated by the fine folks at NBC. Anything!
  • Nope not for me CNN always. And besides the CNN app is upto date. This Breaking News app is outdate and looks abandoned.
  • This may go great for my future surface whenever I am online.
  • You don't, I'll tell you when it's faster
  • Would be good if you could mute news sources.
  • @Daniel...If you had to choose only one news app because of the background tasks limitation what would it be? Sorry for any mistakes, English is not my first language.
  • Your english is better than 98% of those on here.
  • My Bing app on my Surface hasn't worked in weeks. I've uninstalled it twice to no avail. I'm hoping that the Breaking News app at least gives me notifications as the only thing I get on my Surface is an occasional NBC News alert. My 1520 only gets NBC News and CNN alerts. Must be a me problem (but if anyone else has the Bing News app issue, please let me know if you fixed it). And Daniel, yes, it's curt...never rude.
  • news without picture is boring
  • What a great video!!!
  • Why does it need access to the photos, music & videos library? What is it with these apps wanting access to a personal library!
  • the website is beautiful which causes me to use it. plus Facebook is great too.
  • Why can't I find it in Store? I have a Lumia 920 with Lumia Black.
  • WTF is happening in this comments section? RTFA before commenting people.
  • "Breaking News reminds me of the simplicity of  the Drudge Report without the bias..."?  Holy Mackeral Batman this thing is owned by NBC which probably is in the top 3 for rampant progressive propaganda.  No thanks - I'll pass. 
  • I have this app a few months, push notifications is on, and never received a notification.
  • "It kind of reminds me of the simplicity of Drudge, but without the bias ...". That was the funniest part. It's. NBC - of course it's biased! I'd much rather have the up-front, honest pro-America bias of Drudge.
  • Amazing--an app written about here that is actually available on WP7.8 (I know, I know, I need to update already). I'm thankful to Dan since Bing News is WP8 only and this is a nice alternative.
  • Daniel is right-on.  Different apps; different purposes.  BN is great for reading in the bathroom at work; quick scan of topics that uses little data.  Bing articles are long & too many videos for my taste, but still useful.(and how did this topic go so wrong?)
  • No wide tile on firmware updated Lumia 1520
  • I'm not a fan of curated content.  I do my own vetting, and I don't need NBC, CNN or FOX curating news content.  There's no such thing as real journalism anymore, so I'll pull from my own choice of raw sources and vet it myself, thanks.
  • Decent app.  Lean and mean.  Wish more apps were like that.  The little topic heading is a nice help, too. I wish there was an option to make the size of the text smaller so I could fit more headlines in.