January 3, 2013

Press: An Elegant RSS Reader For Android

While Android users have long enjoyed a native Google Reader app, it isn’t much to look at.

For an alternative that is far easier on the eyes, check out Press. It has a minimalist layout that is significantly more friendly toward reading than the stock Google Reader app. One can quickly browse through articles with a few swipes and gestures.

Press developer Jordan Beck said advances in the capabilities of Android make more compelling applications possible. He and fellow developer Jay Ohms both are heavy RSS users, so it made sense to address the need for this kind of application.

“We felt that Android had matured with the release [of Ice Cream Sandwich] and that there was a huge opportunity for well designed apps.  We are also big RSS users, so it made sense to start there,” he said.

Press works with swipes and gestures to zip through articles and feeds. It  syncs easily with one’s Google Reader account.

I tried Press out on both my  Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 and found it was a pleasure to use on both devices. The interface vastly improves the reading experience without sacrificing the utility of the stock Reader app. Each of your feeds appear as a small card

Press also takes advantage of Android’s excellent sharing capability: send an article to any application installed on your device. This makes it rather simple to share an article into one’s Pocket, Evernote, or social media app.

There are many intelligent functions built in, such as pressing the favicon next to an article to “fast mark” it as read or unread.

I also appreciate that tapping the title takes you to the browser. As much as dedicated applications improve one’s reading experience, it is nice to have the fluidity of the web available to quickly research a topic raised by the article. However, in the settings you can change this to keep you within the app browser.

While often this goes in the opposite direction, Beck and co-developer Jay Ohms say they have no plans to bring Press over to iOS.

“We enjoy working with Android and we want to continue to bring great quality and design to the platform,” Beck said.

Press is $1.99 and available on Google Play.

Images Credit: Derek Walter

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