One of the major advantages of a tablet, especially of a 7-inch one, is the ability to pick it up as a book and read content on it - be it the news, a book, or even huge legal documents. Being a news junkie, that's one of the major reasons why I had decided to buy the Blackberry PlayBook. Of course, there are a lot more resons to influence the purchase decision, but I shan't go that way in this particular article.
Traditionally, all of us read magazines or newspapers (or their respective websites) every time we wanna catch up on latest updates. However, in the online world, the concept of following publications by their RSS feeds is extremely popular. RSS feeds, because they help you aggregate all the latest updates right in one place (called Feed Reader), eradicating the need to visiting the individual websites every time.
I have been on the look out for a good RSS feed reader for the PlayBook too. While on a computer, the Google Reader works best for me. Nonetheless, it is not always an optimal solution when you are on a mobile device. One of the most irritating factor of GReader's mobile version is that you can't zoom in or out to increase/decrease the font size. And let me tell you, the default font size of GReader is very taxing on the eyes.
After trying out about half a dozen feed reader apps for the PlayBook, I think I have finally found the sweet spot with Pipeline.
Personally, I think the app looks a bit too shiny. With the grey-ish tones and a very chrome design, it is too flashy to be a feed reader. In addition, while reading the articles, I'd any day prefer white background to a flashy grey one. And yet, it is still good enough to read the text without much hassle. As a matter of fact, at times, the grey background actually makes my eyes feel at ease, compared to a white one.Score: 6/10
I tried loading the feeds on both WiFi and Bridge mode (EDGE, not 3G) and the updation seems to be very snappy. While you might have to wait for about a minute on the Bridge mode to load about 100 feeds' items, it hardly takes 15 seconds to dot he same on a 1Mbps WiFi network.
There are a few UI issues that still plague the application. For example, if you clicked to share the article via email, and then decided against it, there is no way to cancel the dialog box without clicking on another article. There have also been times when I simply lost the GReader tab on the left when I loaded up the app anew. However, I am hopeful such bugs shall be taken care of with future iterations.
Oh! Before I forget to mention, I tried to change the temperature notification to Celsius, but it simply refuses to change!
I have been using the app pretty heavily for the past 3 days, and it hasn't crashed on me even once.
1. Support for Google Reader - Any feed reader is incomplete without being able to sync with Google Reader. And Pipeline achieves the same with aplomb.
2. Offline Support - This one is the master stroke. With Pipeline, you can save content in the tablet itself, so that you can read them even when you are not connected to the Internet. There seems to be no limit on how many articles you can save offline, which is great!
3. Weather - Having a constant tab that shows the current temperature is always useful. You can even click on it to get a detailed view of the weather updates and forecasts.
In case Pipeline doesn't suit your feed reader needs, a few more that I shall suggest are -
1. Blackberry News App for PlayBook
Download Pipeline from the Blackberry App World