NewsGator for Windows Mobile: I like it but…

Newsgator_mobile Just saw this on my friend Brad Feld’s blog: NewsGator for Windows Mobile Beta Available, and decided to give it a try.

To be honest, I am not too sure that I want to be hooked to my Cingular 8125 much more than I already am, but I might like to check a few feeds every now and then.

You can download the program through a Windows EXE file that installs a .cab on your device, or you can download the .cab directly on your phone. A few remarks about the (beta) product:

  • We need a bit more information as to which platform/device should be using the PPC or the smartphone version. I tried both on my phone and they both work, even though the Smartphone version seems to have more options.
  • It is great that the Mobile version synchronizes with the NewsGator back-end, like FeedBurner and NetNewsWire. However, I don’t want to read my 300+ feeds on that device and I would like to be able to select the subset of feeds or folders that I want to download. NewsGator provides the notion of "Location" that would allow me to do so, but it can only be changed on a per feed basis – which is very cumbersome. I would either want to set the Location per folder or/and on a bunch of feeds at the same time.
  • The user experience and workflow need to be improved, especially when it comes to navigation. It is mandatory to use the phone stylet to navigate back to the global feed view once a given feed has been read. I know that it is challenging to build a "one size fits all" navigation when phones and PDAs running Windows Mobile are different, but it would be nice to take advantage of the keyboard more than today. For example, I should be able to open a folder containing feeds with the <CR> or the main navigation key.
  • I am not clear whether feeds refresh automatically on a given timer, or if I have to force a synchronization every now and then. I would set that timer to 30 mins by default.
  • A bit of user documentation would be nice, since I don’t know what the ""Clip Post" function does (for example).
  • A few additional options, such as "No Beep" when opening a feed would be nice.
  • Removing the program in "Removing Programs" actually does not remove it. Which means that after a re-installation, you end up with two instances of the program and I have not found how to fix that.

Don’t get me wrong though, it is a good first step and without these navigation glitches, that product is going to be very useful. I just hope that it will be priced more sensibly than the previous Mobile HTML reader that was bundled with a lot of other things, which made it too expensive given the functionality.

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  • http://tailrank.com Kevin Burton

    You know about 7 months ago I implemented mobile.tailrank.com. Should work on pretty much any device and is being used by a lot of people (you might like it too Jeff).
    Anyway. I didn’t think much of it at first but I’m surprised how many people tell me they use Tailrank mobile and how passionate they are about it. Smaller userbase than the main site but they’re more passionate… interesting…
    Kevin

  • http://www.digitalthink.fr/wordpress/ Denis

    hi,
    Nice, I use netnewswire and newsgator online a long time, and the mobile version is a great news, thx ! It’s a little basically but it’s the begining.