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Phandroid News: Straight-forward app for the best in Android news

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  1. mikolsic

    mikolsic New Member This Topic's Starter

    Jun 7, 2010
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    Let us start by acknowledging that, if you are even reading this review, chances are that you think Phandroid is the best site for all of your Android news--or, at least, that it is probably near the top of your list for reliable Android news. (A note to those who may actually be visiting Phandroid.com for the first time: you have come to the right place for all news Android! With well written articles by well informed Android enthusiasts and all the glorious pics and vids you could ever want, Phandroid is an authority on Android.) I know it is my favorite Android news site, and I have been reading since I got my T-Mobile G1, back when it was the only Android device on the market. So, of course, I was excited when I first read an article posted on the site that detailed the release of a Phandroid News app on the Android Market. I immediately went in, downloaded the app, and have been using it ever since its launch. Here's what I've found:

    The first thing you will find is that this app has no bells and whistles. It did not have any extras when it first launched, and it still does not have any now, despite a little blurb in the "About" section stating that more features are coming. The Phandroid News app does only what it says it does: finds the latest Phandroid articles, downloads them so they can be viewed offline, and presents them in a very mobile-friendly manner. You cannot comment on the articles from inside the app, nor is there any option to "Share" any of the articles. In fact, the only option a user is given once reading a particular article is to "View in Browser." Also, the app does not include a widget--something I once wished it had, but I now no longer need (since I have MOTOBLUR). Whether or not this barebones approach is a good or a bad thing is really up to each individual user to decide. As for me, though I do not really miss the ability to comment on articles within the app, I have found myself wishing there was an easier way for me to share articles with my Android device-owning friends, other than sharing from the Browser.

    Every time the app is opened, you will see the little "Refresh" symbol in the top right of the screen (to the right of the app's title), start to spin. This indicates that Phandroid News is searching for and downloading the latest articles from Phandroid.com, and it occurs every time you open the app because Phandroid News does not run in the background. This process never takes too long, but I have found that any attempts to do anything--from scrolling through the articles already displayed in the app, to actually clicking on them--will bring up a Force Close notification (which one can simply choose to wait out). This particular quirk can be frustratingly annoying at times, particularly when you already know which article you want to read; however, as stated before, the refreshing process never takes more than a couple of seconds, so a little patience rewards the user with a list of easily accessible Phandroid articles.

    The list of articles is displayed in white text on a clean, black background (as are the articles themselves), with thin white lines separating each article. As a bonus, to the left of each article title is a small thumbnail relating to the post. Overall, the look and feel of the article listing is clean and professional, which is very satisfying. Scrolling within the list is mostly smooth, but slows down considerably as more and more articles are saved to the list. You will eventually benefit from using the menu option to "Delete All Data," which deletes all of your saved articles and only redownloads the most recent articles.


    Once you click on a posting, you will be brought to the article itself. Whether in portrait or landscape mode, text and embedded photos/videos will respect the width of your screen, which makes for a very nice reading experience. As on the actual site, posts sometimes include links to source sites, and these are displayed in a blue hyperlink text within the app. All links, including embedded videos, are clickable and will launch the Browser (or YouTube, if it is a video).


    In the end, what you get is a handy, mobile version of Phandroid on your Android device. Though Phandroid News may not have a whole lot of extra features, it does exactly what it needs to do--get you updated Phandroid news--and it does that well. Depending on the depth of your Android bias, you may find this app to be the number one news (of any sort) app available in the Android Market. It is for me.


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