It seems like I’m perpetually having this sort of on-again/off-again love affair with my iPad. One month, we’re inseparable–the next, I might find myself wondering where exactly I put the thing.

Well, I suppose that might be a bit much–I don’t ever actually lose it, I just lose  interest in it from time to time. I’ll be the first to admit that the iPad is more of a consumption device than a creation device. If I’m writing anything of length (like this blog), I’m writing it on a computer of some sort.

On the other hand, I love to read magazines, newspapers, and even books on my iPad. Watching a TV show on Hulu+? Yes, please. Playing the beautifully recreated Eufloria, complete with recommended headphones? Absolutely.

And recently, I realized that I’d love to keep up on certain blogs and topics via the iPad as well. Now, I already use (and LOVE) the fantastic Flipboard for keeping up on my favorite topics (technology, LGBT stuff, etc. — can you use etc. after two seemingly unrelated topics? Apparently.), but it’s not really what I’m looking for when it comes to keeping up on blogs.

I have great intentions when it comes to following the latest on my favorite blogs, but more often than not, awesome content is lost in the constant flood of media. My Google Reader feed, for example, has 230+ unread items – and I can only assume it’s set to clear things out on occasion, because I haven’t looked at it in approximately forever. (And its mobile/iPad interface is pretty hideous.)

So I set out to find an app that would provide a one-stop blog spot (not to be confused with Blogspot), where I could catch up with the latest on my favorite blogs. Ideally, I would open Flipboard, NY Times (the free version–digital subscriptions for NYT are outrageously expensive), maybe USA today/other news sources, and this blog-following app in order to catch up on the latest in my favorite topics, in the news, and finally, in my favorite blogs.

After a little googling, a few searches on the App Store, and a flurry of free downloading, I (briefly) tested out these six apps:

Pulse News for iPad
Blogshelf II
Google Currents
Rumble News
SkyGrid
Float Reader

Of these, I pretty much immediately disqualified Float and SkyGrid, because (as far as I can tell) you can’t add your own sources, just those that they’ve  included in their pre-determined topics/categories.

Rumble app screenshot

Rumble’s beautiful (but landscape–arg!!) interface.

I also–extremely hesitantly–disqualified Rumble. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Rumble is awesome looking. It has a lovely interface, it’s beautiful and I was initially really excited about it… but you can’t use it in portrait orientation. I’m willing to play games in landscape, type in landscape, and do a handful of other things. But for reading… it’s gotta be book/magazine-shaped.

Blogshelf II screenshot

Umm… no.

Blogshelf II was disqualified pretty quickly as well, largely thanks to its hideously ugly interface, which is a poor imitation of the iBooks app. It might be irrational, but ugly apps and I just don’t get along.

The remaining contenders both had some great features, but an amalgam of the two would really be the best case scenario.

Pulse App Screenshot

Pulse’s sharp, but overly detailed, interface.

Pulse is probably the closest to what I want, but I don’t like the layout. You can add your own sources, but I don’t really need/want to see the last 4 posts of each blog. I’d rather see more blogs (as in separate websites) on one page than multiple entries from one.

Google Currents seems really promising: its interface is lovely, you can add sources from your Google Reader feed, or simply by searching, and each blog shows up as a single icon. The only thing it’s lacking is an ability to really sort or categorize the various feeds. Where Pulse had the ability to put various feeds into pre or user-defined categories, Currents just plops them all in the same place.

Google Currents App Screenshot

Currents’ crisp layout only lacks the ability to organize.

You can rearrange them, but only as far as which goes first, which comes next, etc. If they’d add the ability to make categories or separate certain feeds into different pages, I’d be sold.

So, I’m still searching. I’m sure I’ll find something eventually, but in the meantime, I’ll just have to keep trying to stay current on things by catching little tidbits here and there.

How about you? Do you have any favorite apps for reading blogs? Or another method for keeping up on the topics you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

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1 comments
danlang
danlang

Since posting, I've also tried FLUD, and I've been pretty impressed. I'll have to review that one, too!