Features & Use
Every news organization takes a different approach at offering its content online. In an effort to prevent their downfall, the NY Times chose to force online users to pay for content thereby rendering the NY Times app completely useless. Generously funded by the British taxpayers, BBC News took a different road and decided to allow users virtually unlimited access to their content via their website and app. Basically, the app version of BBC News presents videos, articles and audio reports in a smartphone-friendly format.
UPD: All of the previous so-called BBC apps were scams and mislead users into downloading them. I was among the people that didn't see the camouflage and took the fake BBC app to be the real thing. Respresentatives from the BBC were kind enough to inform me that I had been using an unofficial app back in 2010 that had no affiliation with the BBC.
It seems BBC has taken some tips from famous news aggregators such as Pulse and Taptu – and released a worthy product.
The layout of the app is quite simple: all of the news is displayed according to several categories. Having borrowed the idea from other news apps, BBC News displays all categories vertically and all the stories within each section – horizontally.
By clicking on EDIT you can select which topics (categories, sections – whatever you want to call it) you would like to be displayed in your news feed. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t allow you to adjust the order in which these topics appear. All of the topics are organized in a specific way by default and you can only add or delete them. That’s one step short of allowing users full customization. How uncool of you, BBC!
There’s also a latest news banner at the top of the app with all the latest news – just as it would appear on the BBC News TV channel.
Tap the ambiguous-looking triangle (which is actually a PLAY button) in order to watch and listen to the latest BBC World News Report. Both the audio and video reports give you a short 1 minute summary of the latest headlines. Now that’s definitely a quick and easy way to catch up with what’s going on in the world. Finally, there’s a link to the BBC News live radio feed accessible directly from within the app.
Go to Menu button -> Settings in order to adjust the notifications settings. You can allow the BBC to automatically update itself at certain times of day and notify you with a status message and/or sound.
Bottom Line: BBC News presents quality journalism in its entire splendor and tailored especially for Android smartphones. In a nutshell, this app is a successful attempt at transferring the BBC website to smartphone users without cutting back on the content. Although BBC News app is lightyears better than most other major news sources, it still lacks some standard features that we have grown accustomed to from popular news aggregators. Unlike Pulse News and Taptu, BBC offers too little customization and doesn’t even have a favorites folder for saved articles.
Screen & Controls
In terms of layout and design, the BBC News app reaches a new level. Everything is done in the traditional red and white BBC colors without any clutter or confusion. Another great thing: all of the formatting is perfect. No more weird margins or wacky fonts – everything is custom-tailored to fit perfectly into your Android screen. Even the videos and photos in each article are integrated seamlessly into the body of the article.
Controls are extremely intuitive: switch between articles by swiping, tap to open and drag to move.
Speed & Stability
An overall great performance here again. BBC News opens and loads instantly without any crashes or lags.
BBC News is available for free from the Google Market.