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Newsbreak for Windows Mobile Smartphone review

Posted on 12-Jan-2005 06:00 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Many websites provide users with RSS feeds, including Geekzone. RSS is based on XML (abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language), and it is a standard format used to distribute (syndicate) news on the Internet. XML is a way of describing data on the Internet and other applications.

RSS is used in websites ranging from news to blogs to corporations. Most sites use a standard icon to point to their RSS feeds. Look for an image like this Click for the Geekzone RSS feeds and you will find a RSS feed.

RSS feeds are becoming one of the most popular forms of news syndication. They are popular because users have absolute control on when and how to receive the information, with absolute control of bandwidth and content.

RSS feeds are convenient way for users to keep informed with the latest news. Information is concise, and can be quickly scanned. Mobile devices are ideal for this kind of use.

Pocket PC users already know about 142855 Newsbreak for Pocket PC. Ilium Software is also providing for Smartphone users a version specific for this platform. This version brings all the features we find on the Pocket PC version, plus easy to use one handed operation.

Windows Mobile Smartphone version

Like the other version the software comes pre-loaded with a list of RSS feeds, divided by topic, like sports, technology, etc. Users are also able to create their own channels by entering the RSS address (URL) or by importing an OPML file. This last feature is very convenient to users of desktop based RSS feed readers that wish to access their Preferred channels while on-the-go. Most RSS feed readers can export the channel list using the OPML format.

Different ways to subscribe to RSS channels

The software comes with a list of suggestions

Users can manually initiate channel updates, or have them updated automatically on a pre-defined cycle. The program can automatically connect if needed, or be configured to only update on a cycle if there is a connection already present. This option can also be defined for each individual channel.

Global update options

Channel update options

A nice feature on Newsbreak is the keyword definition. Users can define a list of special words and icons associated with them, and when a headline is downloaded with one of these keywords it will be flagged with the corresponding icon. The channel is also flagged with a red icon, indicating the presence of a keyword in an unread item. This way you can always find the more interesting stories on the top of the list, with a clear indicator on the side.

You can define a list of keywords...

... and have headlines flagged based on content

Newsbreak will download the RSS feeds either over WAN (GPRS or CDMA) or over the ActiveSync pass-through connection. Of course the second one will be faster, but the convenience of using it while away from your computer is the best feature.

If you want to read the full story, there'll be a link to the full web page, which will open on Pocket Internet Explore (or default web browser). It's also possible to refresh an individual channel if wanted.

Channels can be sort by categories, and at any moment users can show all channels or an individual category. It's also possible to show only channels with new headlins, filtering out channel that is currently empty or not updated since the last time we read the headlines. Other options include the possibility of sorting items within a channel in different ways, including by date, status, keyword, or a user-selected combination of these.

Options and controls to navigate between channels

The program can store content in an external expansion card

As expected from programs coming from Ilium Software it works really well, and itís a great addition to my Smartphone.

  • Total mobility: always one-click away
  • ClearType support makes it very easy to read
  • Easy operation
  • Import/Export OPML
  • Rich list of options

  • Just because you can use the SD card to store data, donít. Itís too slow to update when downloading the information Ė unless you have it downloading while your phone is in your pocket.
  • It could have an option to beam a RSS feed URL to another user (either via IR or Bluetooth)

    If you are interested in our RSS feeds (including a list of new programs for various handheld platforms, check our Geekzone RSS list.