Flipboard, the personal magazine app for the iPad is probably one of the most hyped mobile app in recent memory, but even though it has lots of dedicated followers, I never quite warmed up to its idiosyncrasies. The idea of a personalized magazine-style app for the iPad, however, is more than intriguing and with NewsMix, Sobees is sending a new app ($2.99, iTunes link) into the race today that has the potential to beat Flipboard at its own game.
NewsMix gives you a magazine-like view of the articles your Twitter and Facebook friends have shared. You can also add RSS feeds and your Google Reader subscriptions into the mix. The app also offers a video-only and photo-only view of your subscriptions. Of course, you can also share any story, retweet it, share it by email and even send it to your Instapaper queue.
Visually, the Flipboard and NewsMix look similar, with article headlines and images laid out on a grid and a homepage that is organized by categories. Flipboard makes it easier to personalize its homepage, while NewsMix, of course, does away with the cutesy flip animation that gives Flipboard its name and focuses more on the reading experience. The app’s reading pane is straightforward, with a Readability-like view of the story that keeps the focus on the text. The original Twitter or Facebook message that was the source of the link appears at the top of the page. In comparison to Flipboard, that’s quite a relief, as that app’s reading pane can feel rather busy.
By default, NewsMix features a standard set of newspaper-like categories on its homepage (technology, health, culture, politics etc.). While you can add your own RSS feeds to the app, you can’t set up a category just for a certain set of feeds. Instead, these get organized into whatever category NewsMix thinks is best for them. To me, that’s the major downfall of the app so far.
What I like about the app is that it doesn’t waste time and space on showing me single tweets without links as Flipboard often does. Unlike Flipboard, NewsMix doesn’t learn what you are most interested in. Instead, it just shows you links in mostly chronological order.
Overall, I prefer using NewsMix over Flipboard. The app feels faster and less cluttered. If you are a Flipboard fan, give NewsMix a try and let us know what you think.