As a commuter who spends about two hours a day on the train, I rely on my smartphone for the latest news. I've tried Apple News, Google Play Newstand, Flipboard, and others. Cheetah Mobile announced the latest version of News Republic that brings exclusive features for Samsung device owners.
Last year Cheetah Mobile acquired News Republic. We also saw News Republic replace HTC Blinkfeed on HTC devices. This latest news centers around the fact that this app release is an exclusive "Made for Samsung" app.
As stated in the press release, this latest version brings the following new features:
- Text-to-speech: Article pages now have a speaker icon that users can tap to activate text-to-speech functionality. Playback controls will appear at the bottom of the screen.
- Long-press for more info: Within a news article, Samsung users can now long-press on a topic to view Wikipedia information without leaving the article.
- Edge Panel news: Samsung Galaxy S7 edge owners can get the freshest news, simply by opening their Edge Panel app. A list of Breaking News will appear, and a single tap will open the article of interest.
- Gear S3 widget: News Republic is now compatible with the Gear S3. The new widget displays the Top Stories, and users can click to read the full articles, with the help of a circular scroll bar, directly from their smartwatch.
- Newsstand: Users can select individual news outlets to follow from within the app. News Republic's learning algorithm will also recommend content providers directly in the article list page.
I installed the new app on a Galaxy S7 and on my Gear S3 Frontier to test out the new features. The tap-and-hold Wikipedia integration is useful and the ability to easily select news sources and view the news you want from all over the world is great. Too often these mobile news apps offer confusing interfaces and news that I have no interest in. This latest News Republic update may just end up being my primary mobile news app.
News in small snippets are great on a wearable, when done properly. The News Republic app provides a couple headlines with the option to see more and so far works well on the Gear S3 with its rotating bezel.