Zite, my new (co-)favorite reading app


I love to read. Books, not that much (though I’m really enjoying Jonah Lerner’s Imagine) but I can spend countless hours just bouncing around the internet, following a ton of blogs plus or just ending up somewhere randomly.

Hence, it’s no real surprise that my favorite app on my tablet is Pulse. As I explained in my introductory post when I first joined Phandroid

I love the UI, and the effort that they’re putting into Pulse Me such as synchronizing sources across devices and the desktop browser extension makes it stand out.

And I’m yet to find a quality competitor for it. Google Currents came the closest, but it just never cut it for me. Pulse does a ton of work on their server-side to speed up the syncing, whereas I find Currents extremely slow (in comparison).

However, the issue with Pulse is that it is, at best, an RSS reader. What I really mean is that there isn’t any content discovery going on, and while their feed suggestions is neat, I don’t want a whole new source to keep track of. I’d just much rather have individual articles that the app believes I’d be interested in.

This is the problem Zite fixes for me. The app gained a great deal of popularity on iOS, where it’s been around for about two years now, before releasing on Android earlier this week. It’s claim to fame is a fabulous recommendation engine, which gained such glowing reviews that CNN spent $20 million to buy the company.

The first thing you do, when you open the app, is connect your Google Reader account and provide your Twitter handler. Scanning your reading habits and your posts, Zite suggests you a few topics to follow, which you can edit. They only suggested 3 to me since I barely use Twitter or Google Reader. I added quite a few more, since I follow a wide range of topics from graphic design and typefaces, to sports to technology and entrepreneurship.

While the news feed Zite compiled for me was exquisite, I do have one issue: the tablet UI is the same as the phone. It’s a relatively minor complaint, and it’s not like the display becomes awful (hello, iOS!) but I really hope they’ve got something special up their sleeves for tablet users.

You can download the app over here. How many of you have been using Zite, and what’s your opinion about it? And if you use some other similar app, how about sharing with the group.

Raveesh Bhalla

Microsoft’s “Smoked By WP7” Challenge extended. Go loot them, Phandroids!

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  1. That should not be a minor complaint. The tablet app for iOS is phenomenal. The android tablet app doesn’t even compare.

    1. For someone who was really really looking forward to this kinda app, I think it’s a minor complaint. I’m happy with Zite, the killer feature is the recommendations. But yes, I’d absolutely love to have a tablet UI. They want to gain a foothold first, and I agree with them on that

  2. maybe android tablet doesnt have a huge market, that’s why they dont want to waste anymore resources on the tablet version. 

    1. The Android tablet market is increasing a lot, plus any developer thinking long term (Zite will) knows that now is the time to gain a foothold in the Android tablet app market. It’s normal practice to focus on the larger crowd first, and then release a specialised tablet version

  3. I like Taptu a lot. Instead of following all individual Android Blogs, they have their own Android (and other subjects) streams into one feed. Good stuff.

  4. How about Taptu?  I use it on a Galaxy SII and it’s the best reader I’ve found by far.  I’m giving Zite a run now, but it’s not a patch on Taptu so far…  I can’t comment on the tablet version though…

  5. I’m with you, I used pulse for a few months but switched to feedly about a year ago: pulse is more striking visually with all the pics, but feedly is more useful since it gives you a few lines of the article to better gauge its contents. Plus Feedly’s tablet UI is excellent, it can really look like a magazine. The only peg I still have with feedly is smoothness: it could be better…

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