Jun, 25 2012

Our Phandroid App (still available on Google Play) hasn’t been updated for quite awhile, and that’s because we’ve been diligently working on a massive overhaul of the application. We’re proud to announce the new Phandroid News App. It leverages Android 4.0 design standards, performance optimizations for quick loading and battery conservation, and includes full support for commenting through DISQUS.

Take a look and download it from Google Play:

Pretty soon we’ll have three separate applications: (1) the Phandroid News app seen above, (2) a standalone Android Forums app powered by Tapatalk, and (3) a revamped Phandroid app that marries the two. But let’s dive into some of the features in the all-new Phandroid News:

Starting From Scratch

The Phandroid News app tears down virtually everything seen in our current Phandroid app and starts with a clean slate.  This allowed us to optimize the code for the quickest possible load times and lowest possible drain on battery. The feature set is chizzled down to what our core users want most: quick and beautiful access to Android News.

These “code rewrites” are incredibly time consuming, but necessary for long-term improvements. As the best developers know, tacking on new features and bandaids to an aging framework will compound problems and increase issues with each app update. Starting from scratch was a tough decision given the time investment, but ultimately we think the Android community will enjoy the result.

Android 4.0 Design Integration

With Android 4.0, Google introduced a number of new design standards. Among them were the birth of the action bar, the removal of in-app navigation (home, back, etc..), and revamped swipe gesture navigation. You can see that the Phandroid news apps follows these guidelines to provide an enjoyable and seamless  experience for the user.

You might notice that both the app and the website have a new logo. That’s just skimming the surface. Later this month we’ll launch a fully redesigned website that mirrors the style of the Phandroid News app. Tack on a few yet-to-be-announced site features, and we think you’re REALLY going to enjoy what we’ve got in store for you this month.

Basic Features, Done Better

Rather than offer a full menu of rarely used features that confuse users and add unneccessary bulk, we incorporated the most important elements and attempted to perfect them. Here is what you’ll notice when using the app:

  • App opens directly to main news list, loads quickly
  • Simple UI displaying dates, titles (read vs. unread), and number of comments
  • Ability to “Star” articles, with access to all starred articles by swiping to starred tab
  • Article view showing text, pictures, and videos with ability to open multimedia in full screen mode
  • DISQUS support showing full commenting system with ability to make comments, reply to comments, like/dislike/mark-as-spam comments, and collapse/expand comment threads.
  • Poll voting and viewing support through PollDaddy
  • Ability to share articles through social networks and other methods
  • Settings tab to authenticate Disqus, check for updates, view changelog, and clear cache.

As you can see, a pretty solid and simple feature set that should please the vast majority of users. We are including very subtle ad integration, for which we think most users will understand the need. Can you find them?

The Developer

Phandroid News was developed by Neverstill Media’s Lead Android Developer, Steve Albright. As you can read later in today’s interview with Steve Albright, he’s also the lead developer behind Carrier Coverage, Football Pickem, Football Schedule 2012, and Clutchpad. We’ll likely feature more pieces with Steve throughout the month, including some guest posts and tutorials.

What do you think?

If you love where we’re going, we would GREATLY appreciate a 5-star rating. If you’ve got bugs, concerns, suggestions, or any other feedback, we hope you’ll contact us and give us the chance to earn a 5-star rating. Please share your opinions below, including any features, options, and settings that you’d welcome with open arms.

Thanks for downloading and we hope you enjoy your regular dose of Android news with quicker and prettier delivery!

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