Journalism is taking several exciting new turns with mobile technology offering updates from your pocket. Instead of waiting for the New York Times to land at your doorstep each morning, you can get fine-tuned news updates in real-time. Mobile apps let us customize alerts to the topics and regions we care about most. Before you head over to the app store to download all of your favorite newspapers, however, consider one of these handy apps that offer all of your sources in one easy to manage program.
Feedly: First Refuge for Google Reader Expats
Google users across the web cried out in despair at the discontinuation of beloved RSS-based Google Reader. Not only was it an intuitive and comprehensive aggregator for all of your favorite RSS feeds, but it also integrated nicely with other Google products. Integration is more and more common for Google users, so it came as a blow to news readers to learn they would have to find a third-party app.
Feedly provided the ideal transition app for former Google Reader users. It quietly imports all of your saved RSS feeds and allows you to categorize them under your own custom labels. The interface is attractive and even offers different layouts so those with different visual styles can read in comfort. The primary advantage of an RSS reader is that you can import more than just news: blogs, entertainment, and other websites are all fair game.
Flipboard: The Mobile Native
Flipboard is a special news app, created specifically for mobile use. Users can "flip" through its gesture-based interface to read quick digests of their favorite stories. Those with the newest smartphones will appreciate a news reader made for the technology right at their fingertips. Flipboard is a great choice for those who want to support small news and niche content providers; its curation brings lesser-known news and magazine content to the reader's attention.
Pocket: The Ultimate Tool for Offline Reading
"It was a dark and stormy night, and suddenly the power went out." It's your worst nightmare – no Internet access for an entire evening! Even though our grandparents like to boast about a "simpler time" before the Internet, the truth is that all of us rely on online access now.
Although Pocket does not have live news updates, it is an essential app for those of us who are so connected we don't know what to do without wireless access. Pocket lets you save articles and web pages for later and saves them in a readable format that you can reach while offline.
NPR: Get Your Regional Fix
National Public Radio is a news favorite, covering national and world news as well as local broadcasts depending on where you tune in. The mobile NPR app lets you listen to broadcasts from all over the country, so you can check in on a breaking story back home even while you are out of town. The interface is professional and comparable to any major news network apps, with quick and easy digests. You can even save your favorite talk shows as playlists to stream whenever you like.
LinkedIn Pulse: News for the Visual Learner
Some of us read page after page of text, some of us listen to broadcasts, and some of us firmly believe "a picture is worth a thousand words." Pulse is a graphic-intensive news reader for those who prefer images when scanning headlines. This app is perfect for those who only follow a few feeds at a time. It pulls both the entire article and all photographs from the original source's media library, so you can see all the action right on your screen.
There is no reason not to stay informed when smartphone users really do have the world at their fingertips. You can flip through headlines on the go or sit back with a cup of coffee and read a lengthy editorial. Don't overload your internal memory with five different newspaper apps when all you need is the one news reader that is perfect for you.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.