Time-starved, news-hungry Android smartphone users: I have a terrific app for you. Circa News was released Oct. 3. It’s free. It doesn’t have ads. And it can be incredibly addictive.
The app features brief stories written by a small news team, and it has been available for iOS for about a year; I reviewed it in October 2012. In addition to the new Android release, Circa 1605 Inc., the developer, also updated the app for iOS 7. Both versions are similar, with a few differences.
There are plenty of quality news-aggregation apps out there, including Zite, Google Currents, and Flipboard. IMO, Circa News is the best at delivering major news stories in an easy-to-digest, mobile format. The stories are pared down to the main facts, yet still readable. Unfortunately, the app isn’t optimized for tablets.
Circa News streamlines the news, but you might find yourself wanting more choice. There are only five topical news sections: United States, U.S. Politics, World, Technology, and Science & Health. (On the other hand, I applaud any news app that doesn’t subject me to “news” about the Kardashian clan.)
Circa News lets you follow developing stories, and you’re notified when related updates are available. You can see all followed stories in the app by tapping the “+” icon. While viewing your list of followed stories, you can swipe left to right on items to delete them in the iOS version. Unfortunately, this option isn’t available in Android; you can only delete all followed stories.
In general, Android apps are more free to interact with each other than iOS apps, so you get more sharing options with Circa News for Android. For example, the Android version lets you copy Circa News articles to your clipboard and share them via text, email, Google+, Flipboard and other sites. iOS 7 sharing options are limited to text message, email, Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re looking to quickly keep tabs on world news, you can’t do any better than Circa News.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.