Back at BlackBerry World in May, it was announced that PixelMags, the digital publishing folks behind magazine content on other platforms, would be designing a branded newsstand application for BlackBerry 10. Now as the launch is almost upon us those with a developer device can get a taste of what this popular magazine application will look like.
BlackBerry Newssstand is a storefront application filled with a plethora of magazines from around the globe. Ranging from media and entertainment, to beauty, gossip and sports, there are more than enough magazine vendors for you to choose from. Digital content is downloaded and purchased using your BlackBerry ID so there are no issues if you switch devices or for tracking your account and subscriptions. An interesting option is how you have the option to not only access content in different languages but storefronts in other countries as well in this version.
Magazines can be purchased on a single issue basis and Newsstand currently offers two subscription plans for BlackBerry users. As demonstrated in BlackBerry World, Pixelmags will be offering an AnyTime reading feature which allows users to view content with a one-time seven day free period upon launch of the app or through a subscription plan to read as many titles as they want. I happen to love this concept because each month (or in this case during the trial), it grants you unlimited reading for a specified time. You can keep track of this by using the timer toggle switch at the top to access the countdown clock.
The application itself is native and as such demonstrates all of BB10's distinct features and flow including the dark theme appearance, easy to navigate interface, buttons, and pull down menus. I have to say the carousel magazine rack flows well and I haven't noticed any freezes or delays while scrolling through the selections. At the top is a handy sorter which lets you navigate through the different topics and categories. While at the bottom is the store button and search feature to find your favorite.
Downloading and viewing magazines is a fairly simply process. It certainly helps that you can start reading as the content downloads to your device. Seeing the periodical itself is a completely different story. Due to the high resolution of the Dev Alpha's display the cover images look absolutely brilliant. Pages can be viewed in both portrait (single) and landscape (double) modes and it's just a matter of swiping to move back and forth or double tapping to zoom in.
I did notice there is a slight refresh period when switching pages. I don't know if this is because I was reading as it downloaded but when you first turn to a page it is slightly blurry and then after a second finishes loading.
For those of you who have made the transition to reading electronic versions of your books and magazines than BlackBerry Newsstand is a great multi-platform alternative to paper copies. It really does bring each of the issues to life on your screen even if this version is for demonstration purposes only. Developers that have a compatible device (some devices can download while others may not have access) you can check it out at the link below. While the application is available for FREE, subscriptions will cost you once it becomes official..