App Review: Pulse News Reader for Apple IPhone

*Note: the following review comes from the writer’s personal experience as a proud owner and avid user of Alphonso Lab’s Pulse news application for the Apple iPhone. The writer is not receiving payment from either Alphonso Labs or Apple. The writer is running the Pule news app on his Apple iPhone 3GS model.

As a local journalist and a natural-born news junkie, I’m constantly striving to keep myself informed and updated on the latest events happening both locally and around the world. I admit that, like most people, I have my preferred news sources. However, I make it a priority to get my news from multiple sources so as not to receive one-sided, biased information. As an on-the-go media professional, I rarely have time pick up a local paper or catch the evening international newscasts. I have thus turned to utilizing news application on my smartphone mobile device, most notably The New York Times, USA Today, The Week, FOX News and CNN. As you may have guessed, switching between five different news applications can be quite a hassle.

While surfing through the news application section of my iPhone’s App Store a few months ago, I stumbled upon the Pulse news app, developed and designed by Alphonso Labs. This app markets itself as “an elegant news reading application for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. It incorporates colorful panning story bars and and fills them with content from your favorite sources.”

As is often the case, I was a bit skeptical of this application that promoted itself as the “only news app you’ll ever need.” However, after installing Pulse to my handheld device, I was instantly mesmerized by the application’s user interface and illustrious visual and graphic appeal. After opening the application for the first time, the user will notice a gear-wheel icon in the top lefthand corner, where you can change your settings and manage your news sources, including your major news categories (politics, world, top news, sports, etc.) and your individual sources within those categories (Yahoo Sports, ESPN, Politico, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc.).

There is also a Social heading, where your social media accounts and other RSS feeds can be accessed and categorized, including your Facebook and Twitter news feeds and links, Flickr, YouTube and just about anything else. Of course, you can choose to remove any of these at any time by returning to the settings menu, as well as add others in the future.

One of the first things you will notice about the application is its visual appeal and user-friendliness in regards to swiping motions. There are two primary ways to scroll through the Pulse news app: up & down and left & right. Talk about interactive! A hard swipe to the right will automatically reload and refresh any one of your individual news feeds.

In the top righthand corner of the app is an icon labeled “.me.” Here, users can set up and manage their personal Pulse news accounts and view the news story items they have saved for later reading. This is a handy feature, considering most on-the-go busybodies don’t have time to sit still for three minutes and read an entire news story.

Here, you can also access your Accounts options and link your Facebook and Twitter account to your Pulse app. There are also options for saving stories. If you have installed the Instapaper and/or Evernote applications to your device, you can link them to the Pulse app here, and any story you save for later reading will automatically be directed to that application. Personally, I recommend utilizing both Evernote and Instapaper. Finally, from the “.me” menu, the user has access to a help menu, tutorial on the Pulse app, support forum and a contact option for e-mailing the Pulse team.

With all of these features are so many more, it is no wonder that the Pulse news reader app for iPhone has received 5/5 stars in user ratings, won the 2011 Apple Design Award, and is one of only fifty applications in the Apple App Store Hall of Fame. TechCrunch raves, “Pulse News is a solid, app, visually pleasing even on a smaller screen.” The New York Times says, “Pulse, popular app, moves to attract more users.”

From one news junkie to another, this is a news application that you can’t afford to miss out on. And the price? Free. That’s right. What’s not to love? Visit your Apple iPhone or Android app store and install it today.

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