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Reeder: The Best iPhone RSS App for Feed Addicts

Reeder iPhone RSS App
RSS's demise is being touted around the blogosphere again this month, but, frankly, we can't live without really simple syndication. Yes, iPad apps like 'Flipboard' and 'Twitter' are innovative in their abilities to make sense of what your friends are sharing on social networks, but, for our money, there's nothing quite like the dopamine-addled, mouth-to-the-firehose thrill of loading up a couple hundred RSS feeds and plunging through thousands of unread news items, blog posts and images. Whether you're a politics junkie, sports fanatic, celebrity news addict or are simply looking for more customization, a mobile RSS reader is essential for staying connected.

Google Reader has long been one of the best Web-based feedreaders, but Google Reader's excellent mobile version still lags behind dedicated apps with its lack of sharing options, offline reading features and speed. Assuming you're using a Google Reader account to keep your feeds organized and synced across multiple computers and mobile devices, you need look no further than 'Reeder' on the iPhone.

Reeder App


Basics

Upon startup, 'Reeder' asks you for your Google account login, and quickly pulls down all of your feeds and folders. It syncs with your account and saves the feeds on your device, so you'll be able to read headlines and RSS excerpts (or full text, if supported) without a data or Wi-Fi connection. Much like Instapaper, Reeder automatically reformats your news items into easily readable text and images. Tapping a story reveals the headline, website and author, and you can quickly scroll up and down through the text.

The 'next' button reveals a new item in the list. Alternatively, you can drag up the pane, eventually revealing an arrow and the headline of the next story. Releasing will force the next story to slide into view, a smooth idea that got its start in mobile Twitter clients. If you're just scanning headlines, Reeder also offers swipe actions to interact with individual items. Want to mark a story as read? Swipe right. Repeat to mark it as unread. You'll find the same action to the left works for starring and unstarring. Or, if you want to trash items in bulk, a 'mark all as read' button can be found at the bottom left of the screen.

Once you're in a folder, you can sort news items by the most current or organize them by individual feed. For example, you can view all your political news in the order it's been published, or break it down by individual bloggers: Politico, Huffington Post and the New York Times.

Sharing

Reeder shines with its sharing options, offering everything from Google Reader-synced stars, notes and sharing to e-mail, Delicious, Instapaper, Twitter, ReadItLater and more (all offered from the share button in the bottom right). Even better, tapping and holding any link brings up the same menu, letting you save a story for later without having to wait for it to load. Tapping through to a link brings up the in-Reeder browser, saving you from having to jump over to Safari. Again, any link on the in-app browser can be tapped and held to bring up multiple sharing options -- a novel idea which really should be offered as basic functionality across mobile browsers.

What needs work

Reeder doesn't let you add new feeds from within the mobile app, and thus forces you to fine-tune your news intake from your browser before syncing (or wrangling with the feed in Mobile Safari). You'll have to navigate to iOS settings in order to edit both basic account controls and reading options (e.g., contrast and font size) -- both of which should be more accessible from within the app. Oddly, Facebook integration isn't included in the share options, and Reeder doesn't offer any way to search amongst your items.

Verdict

We've been heavily using Silvio Rizzi's Reeder for months now, and it rarely hiccups on the thousands of items we throw at it daily. The simple color scheme and fluid interface keep things focused on the reason you're reading hundreds of RSS items daily anyway: skimming for those elusively perfect stories. Casual users looking for more control over their daily news will find an easy-to-use app that works with very little setup. Power users requiring offline reading and the ability to plow through thousands of items should find an interface that excels at skimming, sorting and sharing.

Reeder | Price: $2.99

Tags: apps, columns, features, google, GoogleReader, justtellmewhattoget, reeder, reviews, rss, RssReader, SilvioRizzi