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Mobile Apps

Extra, extra: Apps that deliver the news

These news apps bring you the latest headlines from around the world and your favorite websites.

If you're a news junkie hunting for the latest headlines, there's no shortage of apps to help you out, whether you're on iOS or Android. But with nearly every publication putting out their own apps these days, it can get overwhelming trying to find just the news you want.

If you want complete control over the news you recieve, you might want to try a RSS app such as Feedly (iOS|Android) or Reeder 2 for iOS, which give up-to-the-minute updates when new stories hit your favorite sites.

But for this collection, we've rounded up seven apps for iOS and Android that help you browse the news that matters to you with a minimum of notifications so you can get the news when you want it. A few of the apps bring you more general breaking news, while others give you more control over what you see and from which sources.


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Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

SmartNews

Free, Android and iOS

SmartNews is a free newsreader that lets you browse the latest headlines across several different news categories with an elegant swipeable interface. It's also quick to load as you navigate each category, with all the latest news stories refreshing behind the scenes.

SmartNews was already popular in Japan finding trending news stories based on real-time analysis of Web pages shared across social media. Now available in the United States, SmartNews is a great way to view the top stories in several news categories and you can even read the news offline.

Beyond browsing the headlines from all the regular news categories, the app also lets you create a channel based on a specific site. If you were to add CNET, for example, SmartNews gives you a great layout for all the latest headlines along with thumbnails that are easy to browse through at a glance.

What's great: You can set up delivery times where all the news is downloaded to the app, so even if you have no connection, you can read the news offline.

What's not: As a new app, not all the major publications are onboard yet, so -- for now -- you'll only be able to create individual channels with a handful of sources.


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Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Circa

Free, Android and iOS

If you're the type of person who wants your news in short, easy-to-digest tidbits, look no further than Circa . The app covers major breaking news from all around the the world and the US, plus news topics including sports, technology, politics and health.

For each story in Circa, the app breaks the facts down into small sections, each with a relevant piece of information, a photo, or an important quote. Each story gets its information for a variety of top news sources, and the editors at Circa put together the most useful facts into a short news timeline.

With the app installed, you can choose to get breaking-news notifications (usually one per week) of really big stories. You can also follow any story in the app, and get updates when there's a new development, which can be really helpful for sports tournaments, global conflicts or anything else that has a longer news cycle.

What's great: Circa's sleek design and condensed news updates helps you get the key facts about the top news worldwide.

What's not: The individual story pages have a lot of information about related stories and citations, which can be overwhelming.


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Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Yahoo News Digest

Free, Android and iOS

Yahoo Digest delivers you a collection of the top news stories every morning and evening, usually around 10 stories total. The topics span world and US news, technology, sports and even odd or funny stories.

Like Circa, it combines quotes, pictures, and paragraphs of text to create a short news story. Yahoo Digest goes one further and include links to more in-depth coverage, including Wikipedia articles about basic topics covered in the news article, and embeds popular tweets about the news. However, you cannot browse other topics or stories in News Digest -- what you get in your morning and evening digests is all the news you can see. There are a few extra stories included at the end of your digest, but that's it. What's nice about that approach is that the app doesn't overwhelm you with too much news.

The app's design is impressive and features large color photos, and a simple interface for browsing the news.

What's great: The short morning and evening digests give you just enough of the most important news.

What's not: There's no way to personalize the content you see.


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Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Digg

Free, Android and iOS

Digg has gone through a few changes in recent years, and its latest look is simple and clean, with a few great features. The app uncovers a mix of breaking news and unique stories that are popular in the Digg community. That's great if you want stories that are often thoughtful and interesting, and would normally get buried by other news apps. In many cases, you can read the full text of each story in a simplified view, but sometimes you have to open the full-page article. You can also save articles to read later in the app.

If you log into your Digg account in the app, you can use Digg as an RSS reader, by adding feeds from any news website of blog. You can also tell Digg what topics you're into, such as Fame, Design, Long Reads and Art, and then browse sources in those categories and subscribe to feeds.

What's great: Digg finds unique stories you won't find in other apps.

What's not: The app sometimes crashes.


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Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Google News & Weather

Free, Android and iOS

Though it's been available for Android phones in some way or another for a long time, it was released as a standalone app only last year. For iPhone users, it's brand-new, but regardless of your platform, it's a great way to get the news.

Google News & Weather pulls from 65,000 different publications for all the latest headlines. The weather forecast sits at the top of the screen for easy access, then you can swipe horizontally to switch to other news categories such as World news, US news, Business, Technology and Sports, among others.

What's especially cool about Google News & Weather is that each story has a little arrow at the bottom of the blurb, where you can touch to see more stories about the same subject from several different publications.

What's great: If you want to explore a specific topic across publications, you can touch a button at the bottom of the headline blurb.

What's not: There's no way to easily share the additional stories from other publications -- only the initial headline story.


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Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

LinkedIn Pulse

Free, Android and iOS

LinkedIn purchased Pulse in April 2013, and since then gave the app a makeover with a new and updated sharing features. The app is part RSS reader, part news service that helps you organize the kinds of content you want to read and easily share it on LinkedIn.

The app has a very visual design, with rows of tiles for each story, each with a photo background. Unfortunately, that design makes the app feel overwhelming at times. You scroll through those rows of tiles to view every story in each of your news feeds. What helps set Pulse apart is its sharing features. You can quickly share any store to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and, of course, LinkedIn.

Pulse encourages you to browse the app to find news topics and sites you want to follow, then organize each and every feed into personalized channels. You can group all of your favorite food blogs, business news, and technology sites in their own channels, or mix them up any way you want.

What's great: You have complete control of how your news feeds are organized.

What's not: You have to sign in with a LinkedIn account to use Pulse, and the design feels cluttered.


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Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

News Republic

Free, Android and iOS

The last app on my list, News Republic, tries to learn from your reading habits to build a personalized news feed. The app's design is similar to Flipboard with a grid of topics on the home screen, and like Flipboard, you can search for or browse popular websites and news outlets.

You can use the app without an account, but if you sign up, News Republic keeps track of what you read to understand what kinds of stories to show you in the future. You can also manually customize your home screen with news topics you like, including Cooking and Android, or more specific choices, such as the US Supreme Court and Goldman Sachs.

What's unique about News Republic is the the company behind the app partners with news organizations to syndicate their articles, which means that for many of the articles, you can read the full text right from the app.

What's great: There are hundreds of news topics, so you're bound to find something you want to read, plus the design is very clean.

What's not: The app's sharing features feel like an afterthought.