Daily App Review: PressReader (iPad And Honeycomb)It was one of the tech fantasies promised to us by sci-fi films--wake up in the morning and you will get the newspaper on a gadget that just needs to be switched on. Well, PressReader lets you do just that.
Although it is available for most smartphone platforms, we are going to stick our necks out and say that PressReader is an app that is best enjoyed on tablets--the bigger screen really helps. What the app does is incredibly simple--it lets you select a newspaper or publication of your choice and then downloads its latest issue on to your device. We are talking of a digital version of the complete paper edition of the publication--even the ads will be there. And you can zoom in and out of articles, share them on your social networks, or if you are fed up of watching them as they appear in newsprint, even tap on them to see a more digital avatar of them. You can also print articles and share them over e-mail, express your support or lack of it for them, and in some cases, even get the app to read them out to you. The UI is generally smooth and simple--you can flip from page to page, tap on an article to highlight it, and use the menu for sharing and so forth. All you need to do to get your publication delivered to your device is select it, download it and if you want it delivered automatically to your device, just opt for the "automatically deliver new issues" option that comes with each publication.
Of course, to be really effective, the app would have to be able to offer every newspaper or publication that you can think of. And it almost does--there are literally hundreds of newspapers covered by the app from a host of countries, ranging from Albania and the Czech Republic to the UK and the US, and of course, India. If we are just looking at India, more than a hundred publications have been covered by the app--most of the major dailies are there (The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, The Hindu) as well as some magazines (India Today, Cosmopolitan, Tehelka). Internationally too, you will get access to some of the best-known publications in the world, ranging from The Guardian and The Telegraph of the UK to the Washington Post and USA Today of the US. Yes, those who like to quibble will point out that some worthies like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are missing, but honestly, we think the app does cover most major news publications very well indeed.
Mind you, all this does not come for free. While you can download a few issues initially free of cost, once this limit expires, you have to choose between either paying $0.99 for every publication you download or paying a monthly subscription of $29.95. Whether that is too much or too less depends on what you are looking for--while paying $0.99 for an Indian newspaper which costs about a twentieth of that amount might seem a tad much to some people, the fact is that you can get an issue of Cosmopolitan or Harper's Bazaar, which costs more than $0.99 for the same amount. And well, if you are in India and want to read The Guardian, $0.99 for a copy is MUCH lesser than what you would have to cough out at a newsstand. Speaking for ourselves, we recommend the $29.95 eat-as-much-as-you-like plan--it literally lets you read as much as you want for a month. There is also the fact that these editions stay on your tablet, taking up far lesser space and creating no mess at all--something that newsprint editions tend to do. And of course, there is the save-paper-and-the-environment angle, for those who are concerned about it.
A piece of advice, though--these digital avatars of paper editions weigh a fair bit in MB terms, so make sure that you do not overstock your device with them. We would have loved some sort of cloud storage system, which let us keep specific issues or pages (as we can do on the Kindle), but even without that, PressReader remains an awesome app for those who love reading on paper, rather than on RSS feeds. If you have a tablet--be it an iPad, an Android Honeycomb tablet or a BlackBerry PlayBook--download it today, and it is a fair chance that you will be cancelling your newsprint magazine and newspaper subscriptions in the coming days. We did. Available from: Google Play iTunes App StoreBlackBerry App WorldPrice: Free (for an initial number of issues, later $0.99 per issue, or $29.95 per month for unlimited issues)--Nimish Dubey