Sometimes the most dangerous thing that can happen for a mobile device user is finding an app that fits the usage scenario perfectly. Why? Because at that point, it’s very easy to stop paying attention to what happens elsewhere on the market. That’s what happened with me and Zite, a personalized magazine service that has been on the market for quite a while now, and just hit Android. I’ve been so set in my Google Reader ways that I haven’t even tried it, and man do I regret that.
Zite is similar to other “not really RSS”-readers out there, but I must say that I like its approach to everything better than others I’ve tried. You start off by giving it some information about what you like to read about, which it can pull from Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious, Read It Later, or simply from you telling it by adding categories. You can of course combine these as well, but in any case, it uses this as a starting point to start getting to know your interests. It pulls stories from both your own stuff and other sources and then feeds them to you in a magazine style, with what it calls “sections” available for more specific reading. Examples of sections it found from my Google Reader feed are iPhone, iOS, Gadgets, iPad, and Tablets, among others. I had to add Android myself though, despite several of the sites I follow being Android-specific. Favoritism? Either way, with these section, I can then either jump into a mix of news, or just one section at a time.
The idea behind Zite is that it learn what you like as you go. For every article you can tell it that you like or dislike it, or want to read more from that source or more of a specific topic mentioned. Through this is further adjusts to your likings, and over time, you should find more and more reading material that you actually find interesting.
The iPad app impressed me with smooth animations, and intelligent UI, and generally a polished feel to everything. The Android app, eh, not so much. It’s designed for phones, not tablets, and to be honest it doesn’t look good on either when compared to the iPad app. That’s disappointing, but at this point in time, nor surprising. Hopefully the Android offering will be better over time, as it just came out after all, and the entire Zite service is free.[iTunes | Google Play]