Every older person I’ve ever talked to about current events usually begin or end the conversation with “Today’s generation just doesn’t care about current affairs.” First, yeah we do. Secondly if you want us to take in more information you’ve got to present said information in a medium in which we understand. It’s why Stephen Colbert has a job Monday thru Thursdays. You wouldn’t put product placement ads for Halo in reruns of Matlock would you? What I’m getting at is a simple premise: tailor your message to your audience.
This week we’ve got the best news apps on Windows Phone to keep the person in your life who doesn’t know who Angela Lansbury is, informed.
We begin this week with the standard barer of news organizations, I’m of course referring to the New York Times. While their online subscription has been cited by many as best in class, until fairly recent they weren’t really taking mobile platforms seriously enough, resulting in third-parties essentially cashing in on their content. The New York Times on Windows Phone looks and works just how you’d expect. All of your news is present in black text on a pure white background using a panorama control to give the app a more tailored feel. You can browse each of your favorite sections as well as save each section to the apps main interface for faster reading. The app even features a handy “download articles for offline reading button” in the settings for those of us who venture in and out of less then stellar internet conditions. Overall that app is pretty basic as far as news readers go, but I can honestly say that out of ironically gives the app a more stable feel.The New York Times for Windows Phone is free in the Windows Phone Marketplace, but there’s a catch. You’ll need to pony up for their online subscription to use it.
While many might consider The New York Times to be the standard barer of old media, clearly the standout in taking their content to the people is USA Today, as demonstrated by the absolutely wonderful and unique application they offer to Windows Phone users. Immediately as you enter the app you are greeted by a very Windows Phone-like headlines area and a background that matches the current weather based on your location; immediately you already know the latest headlines, and your current weather conditions and you haven’t even done anything in the application yet. Like The New York Times, USA Today also has a sections page, but unlike The Times, USA Today has saw fit to use their standard colors for each section in a sort of tiled mosaic. After flicking your pointer one more time you’re greeted by very stylish sections for enjoy photos and videos from the paper’s website. Then there are the articles themselves. Each article is white text on a black background, presumably to save batter life and eye strain. Speaking of eye strain, you can also adjust the size of texts. Lastly they finish this wonderful app off with some of the best Live Tiles integration I’ve seen from an app including Microsoft’s first party stuff. Each section can have it’s own updated Live Tile pinned to your start screen. As far as I can tell, there aren’t even any required advertisements or subscriptions fees and involved. Best of all it’s completely free. Do yourselves a favor. Download USA Today, download it right now.
We end this week with an app that’s very near and dear to me. The first day Microsoft announced Windows Phone, I saw screenshots of the AP Mobile and new that Windows Phone was the platform for me. It had an auto switching Live Tile, a dynamic background that changes depending on the top story, a stylized section for media, and more categories then the law should have allowed. The moment I received the Samsung Taylor test device I downloaded it, and it was just as great as I had imagined. And then the Associated Press let it rot. It slowly decayed into nothing but a buggy reader I’d have to restart every few days just to fix it’s Live Tile. I still keep it on my HD7, in the hope that wonder they’ll fix it. Since it’s free you should download it, if nothing else to see what some of other news readers still have yet to achieve.
And that’s a wrap on this week’s Windows Phone App Flow, if you’ve got comments, or ideas on other apps we should take a look at during the series be sure to let me know on Twitter @harlemS. Until next week that’s all she wrote!