Features & Use
Newsy: Multisource Video News is a service that offers condensed bites of news stories taken from different sources, i.e. round-ups of the same story broadcasted by different sources are recapped in one video that’s no longer than two to three minutes. As an example, a news round-up for Google+ might contain tidbits by the Washington Post, Techcrunch as well as a not-so-well-known blog. Newsy’s approach is to feature a lot of blog content, which is quite common in North America, though not so much (yet) in Europe.
First impressions: pretty good, actually! The app has a nice clean look and feel to it. It runs in horizontal mode only, but I’m not too fussed about that. Swipe and select a news story from the ‘news catalogue’. There’s a menu harbouring option for switching on the transcript feature, forwarding the video as well as looking up the sources the video draws from (I personally look stuff up a lot, hence why I found this to be a very useful function indeed). Playback is, of course, also an option; two minutes and you get a pretty good idea of the topic you’re interested in.
That’s about all there is to say about the app’s functions. Now comes the trickier bit: evaluating this app. Let me start by saying that I use the iPhone and iPad version of Newsy on a regular basis. What I noticed is that the Android version is more or less identical to the other versions of Newsy, which is a bit of a shame seeing as the app doesn’t make the most out of the full spectrum of Android potential.
‘Ported’ apps tend to look a lot like the original programmes, but the fact that Newsy didn’t even bother updating the menu button did put a bee in my bonnet. Furthermore, certain functions that exist in the iPhone and iPad versions are missing from the Android app: favourite lists for videos, the option to display a transcript whilst a video is playing as well as classifying videos. It all seems a little lackluster and the fact that the application is ported is pretty in your face.
Newsy has a lot of great things going for it, but a few drawbacks, too. The informational and educational value is brilliant—the slogan ‘Multiple sources. The real story’ seems apt in this regard. At the same time the app does come across as very obviously ported, almost as though the developer’s hearts weren’t in it, and I think Android deserves better than that. Newsy has so much potential and this version seems premature, and it’s a pity because it really takes the focus off the great idea being the app.
Furthermore, I should add that Newsy targets American users, so a lot of content will be irrelevant for other users.
Screen & Controls
As mentioned earlier, first impressions of Newsy: Multisource Video News is rather good, but first impressions can be fleeting. Swiping was not entirely smooth on my HTC Desire (which is not the case with the iPhone version).
The app wasn’t optimally adapted for Android, a menu button wasn’t put in and navigating the app is not exactly a breeze, either. On the other hand the app loads really quickly and there are quite a few nice animations to put a smile on your face. Nevertheless, we’re awarding this app two stars in this category because it quite simply does not fulfill an app’s main functions.
Speed & Stability
Newsy: Multisource Video News runs very smoothly and without crashing. Videos load relatively quickly, even when running on a UMTS connection.
Newsy: Multisource Video News is not exactly making things easy for me. Yes, can be downloaded for free from the AndroidPIT App Center as well as the Android Market and it is a good source of information. On the other hand the app has not been adapted for Android optimally, and that’s something I’m not willing to let slide.