/// Two New News Apps, Designed for Mobile Phones

January 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital


If you’ve ever read news articles on your smartphone, at some point you’ve probably hit a pay wall, pinched and squeezed your way around a tiny-type font, or gotten frustrated with the overall experience on a mobile browser. And yet mobile devices are rapidly changing the way we consume news. So, for this week’s column, I took a look at two new mobile apps that present snippets of news tailored to fit a smartphone screen. I tried to view these through the eyes of an average news consumer, rather than as a journalist working in the fast-changing news industry. The first is Summly, an app that has received as much attention for its “human-free” news-gathering technology as it has for its 17-year-old creator, Nick D’Aloisio. It scans longer articles from established news sources, and picks a few sentences to create a summary. [ See post to watch video ] The second is Circa, which is trying to build its own mini newsroom. About a dozen editors generate stories across a variety of topics, which are then broken into short bits. Some of these stories are written by Circa’s own staff, based on original reporting, but many of them borrow from other people’s reporting and cite other news outlets. Both apps are free, and available on iPhone only, with Android and tablet versions in the works. It’s too early to say whether mobile apps like these — or apps like Zite and Flipboard, which aggregate content on mobile — are the future of news. Both Summly and Circa do a good job of presenting news bits in a mobile-friendly format — but those news bits could still use some work

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Two New News Apps, Designed for Mobile Phones



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