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Portability at its best - See why ReadOnTouch Pro is a must have for the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Zach Gilbert on 4 May 2012 03:35 pm EDT
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With portability at the heart of the BlackBerry PlayBook it’s easy to forget that the device we hold today isn’t connected 24/7. So staying up-to-date with articles here on CrackBerry and other news sites may be a little difficult while on the go. Surely there has to be a fix while we wait for the notorious 4G LTE PlayBook we’ve heard so much about, and well, there is. ReadOnTouch Pro has officially made its way into BlackBerry App World. ReadOnTouch Pro allows you to save sites on your desktop for later viewing on the PlayBook, which is insanely handy. Continue reading for the full review of ReadOnTouch Pro.

ReadOnTouch Pro allows you to use the Pocket service (formally known as Read It Later) to “save” webpages and articles for later viewing on the PlayBook, making everything quite seamless. While you’re reading webpages like CrackBerry on your computer all you do is click on the bookmarked link for Read It Later and it gets pushed down to your tablet so you can read it while on a train, plane or automobile.

Features

  • Save web pages for offline viewing
  • No Internet connection required to read stored sits
  • Professional UI
  • Share interesting articles via social networking
  • Bookmark articles
  • Adjustable font sizes

User Interface

Sven Ziegler, the developer of ReadOnTouch Pro, has thought a lot about the look and feel if the application. While keeping it simple he has been able to offer some of the essential features without all the bloatware bogging it down. The dev has also given the user a few options to customize their in-app experience and features like the ability to change the background color goes a long way while trying to read in the dark. The developer has also added the ability to change the font size, line spacing, and font type, all which should enhance the reading experience.

In app options

While I did state a lot of the in-app options within the UI section of this review I wanted to go into a little more detail on a few others. While the app has the ability to change the font, line spacing, font type and reader theme, it also has the ability to bookmark articles you're reading. A bookmarking feature may seem a little boring for some, but if you’re saving a lot of articles to read on a long commute it’ll definitely come in handy. There are also options to open the article's original web page (mind that a data connection is required) or view the website within the application without going into the PlayBook's browser.

Within the app's settings screen you have a few things you can change that effect how the application functions. On this page you can enable things like sync on startup, sync only unread articles, and auto download articles. I recommend having all these options enabled, as they’ll provide you with the best experience when using ReadOnTouch Pro.

Set up

Getting the app up and running while easy, does take a little bit of work from you, the end user. First you’ll need to head over to GetPocket.com and sign up for an account, and follow their instructions on adding the service as a bookmark. Your next step is going into the settings page on ReadOnTouch Pro and entering in your GetPocket.com username and password. After you’ve followed these two simple steps you are able to, well, read it later.

Pros

ReadOnTouch Pro features a simple, easy-to-navigate user interface along with enough options to customize the in-app experience to your liking. Also worth noting is how simple and painless it is to sync your articles saved on the computer (works on both Mac and PC) as it really extends the functionality of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Cons

I found that because the articles within the application are missing the images it really takes away from the whole context of that saved post. More often than not an author will use an image to increase the article's ability to tell a story. Due to a limitation in the GetPocket.com service the application is not able to display any images.

Conclusion

ReadOnTouch Pro is a fantastic addition to the BlackBerry PlayBook. The application really extends the portability factor of the PlayBook and gives BlackBerry and non-BlackBerry users the ability to view content while not connected to the Internet. ReadOnTouch Pro is available in BlackBerry App World for $1.99. But enough reading what I have to say, experience it for yourself and discuss it in the CrackBerry forums.

BUY NOW

13 comments

rickkel

While I can understand the usefulness of this app, it's not because my PlayBook isn't 4G. With BlackBerry Bridge I'm connected 24/7. I can see downloading travel-related sites to use when travelling and I'm not around wi-fi and turned 3G off on my phone.

berryaddict338

OMG... Can we get something for free over here? Every nonsense for purchase, Damit!

apengue1

+1 ...I can agree that with some that apps shouldn't always necessarily be free, but at this point I'm feeling like every app showcased here on CB is always a paid one. I'd rather not have it for $1.99.

When I see my gf on Android or friends on ios get everything they need in one form or another on their respective platforms for a very low price (mostly free), I can't justify a purchase on something so simple that many other people get for free.

There was a thread recently about how apps should be paid, and that it costs money to make good apps blah blah.. I agreed partially with the dev who made that thread, but its their own god damn fault for having prices so low in the first place. Maybe you are right that we should pay more frequently for apps, but why should we be the only ones doing so? If you want to start a trend then start it but dont single it out only to Blackberry. Every shit is so god damn expensive in relevance.

renownedanonymous

To the point in your first paragraph regarding the apps that Crackberry showcases/reviews, I'd rather them showcase/review apps that are paid over the free ones. I can check out the free ones myself but don't always want to throw down some change for something that may be a worthless app.

berryaddict338

Read it Later is way better and is free on Android, why this copy cat or workaround is for purchase? Only on playbook, lol!

papped

You act like Read it Later didn't copy an existing concept or something...

rickkel

It appears that this app is Read It Later, the developer changed the name perhaps?

svzi

This app is no copy cat, it's build with the official API from Pocket and it's a native app for the PlayBook. No buggy android emulated app. And this app is not only available for the PlayBook, it's the premier Pocket client for HP webOS, since nearly a half year.

Cheers,
Sven

1canuck2

Read It Later renamed itself to Pocket. It has a service/API that others can use to integrate with Pocket. This app is not from the Read It Later/Pocket people, but uses it service.

You are correct that similar functionality is available on Android (and iPad) for free, which is rather irksome. However, this third-party app at least makes the functionality available (to those who are prepared to pay) on PB since the devs of the underlying service do not deign PB worthy of their free client.... :(

LuayS

I like this app quit hating on the dev and thank him for developing such an application. ReadItLater doesn't work as well as this and must be sideloaded..

oldtimeBBaddict

Frankly, Zach, I don't care where the shortcoming comes from. I should pay $1.99 ( I KNOW it's not a lot of money). An app can't display graphics? And you're STILL recommending them?

advcomputer

I get similar functionality with Print to go.

-Jeff

mgmft

I love this app. Used it for months on my Touchpad and since it is written in the easy portable Enyojs framework, I can now use it on my new Playbook. To be honest: Even for a webOS user, the choice of apps in the App World is not very good. OK, for Android there a butload of free apps for whatever you need. But I prefer paying a small amount for good aps to support the developer, than using shitty apps or apps with ads everywhere. I am a developer myself and it makes me go mad, if people complain, that they have to pay 1,99$ for an app, that they will proably months or even years, but don't hesitate to pay 5 bucks for a cup of falvored coffee at starbucks several times a day. I love Readontouch, but on webos, being patchable and more open, it is even more useful. I.e. In the browser I have a patch that sets up the menu item 'Add to ReadOnTouch'! Awesome.