Ever sat back and thought "Gee, I wish my news feed had more of a 'Hollywood Squares' feel to it?" Truth be told, you probably haven't evet thought that. But, trust me, it's much more elegant than it sounds: An ordered grid of news and social content can speed up your daily browsing by letting you skim through your favorite providers' content without the need to open and peruse tabs individually. This media grid format isn't new to the iOS platform, but given that FLUD has recently arrived in the Android Market it seemed a good time to reintroduce one of my favorite iOS news readers.
Whether you're pulling rss feeds on an iPhone or an iPad, the multi-thumbnail info grid — or stack depending upon the device — promised to revolutionize what you expect from your digital daily news. There's no doubt that FLUD has a lot to offer, but a year after debuting with a flurry of accolades and awards, is this app still worth a download?
FLUD for iOS: A Tale of Two Apps
FLUD works with the iPhone and the iPad, but it's not a Universal app. FLUD for iOS comes in two distinct editions — FLUD Mobile for iPhone and FLUD for iPad — and each app has a slightly different design customized to the device. Before getting started know this, both versions require iOS 3.2 or higher, so if you're still rocking an older iPhone, you're out of luck until you upgrade.
FLUD Mobile (for the iPhone)
FLUD Mobile for the iPhone takes the form of a virtual booklet of stacked thumbnailed articles. Flipping from page to page will show you your favorite blogs, webcomics, news, and social networking updates reduced to long lists of the top articles and posts. FLUD is also capable of displaying Twitter feeds, video from the web, and slideshows, so a little creativity in feed selection can be rewarding.
FLUD (for the iPad)
FLUD on the iPad is superior to the iPhone's paginated list: It presents a grid of content links that scroll like a page when dragged vertically and only to unlock and slide individually by content provider when scrolled sideways.
FLUD: Social News Meets Custom Content
Customization is the name of the game where FLUD's feeds are concerned. Pick from your favorite news and multimedia: If it's got an RSS feed, FLUD can link to it, not to mention Google Reader synchronization and Twitter updates. FLUD allows users to exert some influence on the content others see. By clicking the "Love" button, you nudge the article, cartoon, or video one bump up the ladder of FLUD reputation, meaning that the app will dynamically adapt to feature that content to more users in the network. This background sorting of crowd pleasers helps FLUD to maintain a steady stream of relevant content.
The social networking features boasted by so many modern news apps are not lacking here, which should come as no surprise thanks to FLUD's social approach to news content. A simple touch in the corner of the feed screen brings up a social application menu you can use to share your favorite content with the wider world. Check your friends' feeds using FLUD, then share articles with them from your news stream. You'll find yourself better informed and more connected with goings on in the world around you. FLUD's simple interface doesn't leave much room for error; the straightforward options work exactly as you'd expect.
If you're tired of flipping from one news app to the next in order to read your favorite RSS feeds, FLUD may be the answer you're seeking. Whether or not you've got a large list of blog subscriptions, giving this reader a shot could help to expose you to more and better content through the article popularity system. There's a lot of content out there, and woefully small amounts of time in which to read it. FLUD is a good way to make the most of the time you spend staying current.