Google announced yesterday a new beta version of Google Reader "designed for the iPhone and other mobile phones with advanced browsers."
I actually stopped using the old version last summer (the number of clicks required to do simple tasks like star and expand items made it too tedious to tolerate), but after giving the new Reader a whirl on my iPhone today, it’s now officially the first mobile version of any website I actually like and will continue to use. So lovely are the improvements, in fact, that I decided to try it out on some other ARM-based gadgets that sport "advanced browsers" to see how it fared.
AT&T Tilt and BlackBerry 8800
Google doesn’t clarify its definition of "advanced," but if they ever do, Opera Mobile on the AT&T Tilt and Opera Mini on the BlackBerry 8800 won’t be mentioned. The new Reader is certainly usable on both browsers/devices, but it’s hardly the "very fast way to power through your reading list" that it is on the iPhone.
Sony mylo 2 (COM-2)
The Sony mylo 2 doesn’t fare much better. Although its NetFront web browser can actually handle the full desktop version of Reader (albeit slowly), the ability to star items in the new Reader, which is obviously faster than the full version, is nowhere to be found (notice the blank spaces to the left of each item).
Nokia N800 and N810
Since my Nokia N800 and N810 Internet Tablets are still running different operating systems and browsers, I checked out the new Reader on both devices. As with the mylo 2, the Internet Tablets encounter no problem with the desktop version; the difference in their ability to render the new mobile version is that the starring function is present and page loads are completed more quickly.
The N800 and N810 offer the closest "iPhone experience" of the latest mobile version of Google Reader, but it’s not as nicely optimized for finger use. Additionally, using the touchscreen (not the scroll bar) to scroll down the page often results in accidental taps and expansions of titles.
In other words, although the beta Reader can be used on other mobile devices (it can also be accessed on regular desktops and notebooks), it’s best used on the iPhone.