Hands-on with Pulse News for Android Honeycomb tablets

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 6 2012 on 12:00 AM

The Pulse News feed reader is one of the coolest RSS readers available for Android (and not just because they include our blog). It's graphically awesome on the phone, and it's downright stunning on a Honeycomb tablet.




It's almost too good, actually. You might have to struggle a little bit with the sheer amount of information coming at you -- but that's something we noted with the phone version as well. It's not a knock against the app, it's just that if you happen to be a blogger with a few hundred feeds, things can get a little confusing.
But back to the stunning part. The graphics and transitions on a dual-core Honeycomb tablet are pretty darn smooth, and the home screen widgets showcase some of our favorite parts of the Android 3.0 framework.
Pulse News, by startup Alphonso Labs, has helped usher in a new way of consuming social news on mobile devices. A new Honeycomb version of the application was previewed for Android tablets in conjunction with Google’s press event Wednesday.
Alphonso Labs worked closely with Google to tap into the tablet operating system’s differentiating features including Activity Fragments (as described below), home screen widgets, notifications and accelerated graphics.
Here’s how Alphonso Labs describes the benefits of working with Honeycomb Activity Fragments: “Honeycomb allows developers to break the Activities of their applications into subcomponents called Fragments, and then combine them in a variety of ways to create a richer, more interactive experience. For the landscape view, Pulse allows you to open the story right there in a new fragment. This allows readers to simultaneously browse and read news stories.”
The home screen widgets are also handy. They offer users instant access to stories within Pulse, and the rich-content notifications that include images and news story headlines.
The Honeycomb application will be released later this month and include the standard Pulse fare that iPhone, iPad and Android users have already come to appreciate.
So, is the Honeycomb-optimized version of Pulse News superior to its iPad counterpart? “It’s comparable — calling it superior (just yet) would not be correct,” says Alphonso Labs co-founder Akshay Kothari. The “just yet” part has us wondering what the app makers have in store for future updates.