A news addiction is one of the few dependencies that it's actually good to indulge. And to a news junkie, a smartphone is like a wide-bore hypodermic needle.
Those of you who are already on the RSS bandwagon, it's time to try Reeder. It's simply the prettiest and best-syncing Google Reader-based RSS app available for the iPhone. Those of you who haven't yet tried RSS, or ran out of patience for it, trust me: spend a few minutes gathering your favourite news sources into Google Reader, download Reeder, and watch the news pour into your phone. It's great. A a bonus, the text and image formatting in Reeder is much better than most mobile sites and even dedicated news apps, so it's sort of like a catch-all mobile interface for everything you read online. Plus, hey, no more BIAS JOURN-O-LIZM, because you choose the sources! $4, iPhone.
I usually shy away from single-source news apps, but I make an exception for CNN's. Its video content is nice, but where it really succeeds is in fast, simple news delivery. It's probably the quickest way to get a handle on what's going on in the world (on your phone), with an intelligently laid-out interface, smart story selection and super-fast updates. It'll also send you push updates as soon as news breaks. Some are dumb; most aren't. Either way, this a is useful weapon in a know-it-all news hound's arsenal. Free, iPhone.
NPR's news app easily does the work of two. As a text and image pusher, it provides a decent news digest - assuming you don't abhor its (mild!) politics. It'll run neck and neck with apps like NYT and AP in terms of straightforward news delivery. But this is an NPR app, and you probably won't download this to read more. You want to listen. And you can! Forever, to everything, always. It's amazing. You can listen to pretty much any NPR station you want from anywhere in the country. OR you can stream the shows on demand, and build playlists of your favourite shows. However, as with any sedative, mixing must be undertaken with extreme caution. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Free, iPhone
OTHERS TESTED: • FLUD: An app that takes the "RSS" out of "RSS". I found it very pretty, but abandoned it quickly. • NYT: A hefty chunk of the Times, squashed into a simple and readable little app. You weren't going to read the rest, anyway. • Flipboard: A beautiful app that formats various sources, including feeds, into a sort of digital paper. It's a nice way to consume news, to be sure, but it's only available on the iPad.
Pulse takes a bunch of news sources and transforms them into a pretty gorgeous collection of tiles. It's best to use when you're scanning a limited number of feeds (it maxes out at 20 anyway) because the interface is so graphic heavy, handling anything more than 10 can get a little complicated. The idea is less RSS reader and more Newsy and there's a bunch of great sources to pick from (ahem, Gizmodo). It's a pretty great app to have when to casually scanning news, plus news hasn't ever looked this good. Free, Android.
A great app to find the latest headlines, sports scores and weather reports because everything is laid out right smack in front of you. It's well designed too, news isn't buried and the layout makes sense. USA Today's app is much like USA Today itself, all the relevant news whittled down and easy to understand. If you're looking for basic news and just staying current with the world, this is where you start. Not to mention, it's got some pretty sweet photos in the "day in pictures" section to comb through. Free, Android.
Finally! After years of only having a web app (that's admittedly decent!), Google just released a full fledged app for Google Reader. If you're familiar with using Google Reader, it's exactly what you expect, only translated for the smaller screen. It doesn't have the style and pizazz of some other RSS apps but it's everything you need to get the news from your feeds (it supports multiple accounts too) and wonderful for any Google Reader user. One super cool feature: using the volume keys to navigate through feeds. Free, Android
OTHERS TESTED: • BuzzBox: Has a similar idea to Pulse but it's not as pretty. Can juggle more feeds at once since there's more text than images. • NY Times: It's actually one of my favourite apps to use but only because of the content, not the app itself. I'd like a much more upfront app instead of things buried in menus (they could also add the offline feature that's in the iPhone) • NubiNews: It's useful in reading news super quickly but it's terribly ugly and feels like it was made for BlackBerry • SkyGrid: A pretty neat way to keep up with the topics YOU care about by giving you notifications and alerts • Fox News: Fair and balanced news for the conservatives in a pretty basic layout • NPR News: Now what's better than listening to the soothing NPR? Getting your listening fix, creating playlists and even reading news (!) to stay opinionated, that's what.