Version Reviewed: 2.0
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
"Push News" is about as literal a name as you can get: this is a news app that sends you push notifications whenever an update from your favorite source comes in. For now, there are ten sources to chose from, and you can add as many as you like (I'm subscribed to NPR and CNBC, for example). Unfortunately, the app isn't perfect, and I'd rather just use Google Reader.
Subscribing to news feeds is done in the "options" pane; there's a simple on/off switch for each source along with a note detailing how many notifications you can expect to receive. CNN Breaking News provides only 1-2 messages a day; others, like Google News, send up to to ten notifications per hour. It's all up to you.
When a notification comes in, the app opens up, and you can see a full queue of all the news items you've missed. Well, not quite all. My current queue seems to contain up to day's worth of headlines, which really isn't much. Anyway, each entry has both the post's headline and a small blurb of text, just as you'd see in your typical RSS feed. Tapping on an entry allows you to view it on the source's mobile site, all while staying in the Push News app...at least, it should.
This is where I began to experience problems. Most NPR stories view fine, for example, but others present only text blurbs when you open them; it took me a little while to realize that these were audio-only stories that required clicking through to the full version. I couldn't get CNBC to load at all, which kind of defeats the purpose of the app. Other sources were also strangely buggy. Sometimes I don't get notifications at all; other times, I get repeats. Sometimes previously-checked sources mysteriously switch to "OFF." And too many of the sources either don't have mobile versions, or the app doesn't use them, resulting in needlessly long load times. There's no "open in Safari" option within the app itself, either.
And then there are features that I really wish the developers had included. You can't delete already-read stories from your queue. You can't load older posts (there's no "read more" or "load more" button), and scrolling through the list without any interface feedback (no scrollbar on the side, for example) makes it hard to tell where you are; there's also no "tap header bar to scroll to top" feature, which I rely heavily on.
For the most part, Push News works, and I know that plenty of avid news readers will appreciate the instant gratification of quick news delivery. But there are just so many little quirks that annoy me, and I personally don't need to be reminded to check the news—RSS feed readers work fine for me. A few tweaks could make Push News a contender for a part in my daily routine, but for now, it's just a half-decent execution of a relatively good idea.