When switching over to BlackBerry 10, losing social feeds was a painful blow. I may not have accessed it for my social networks, but when it came to news or tech blog posts I loaded multiple RSS feeds to keep me abreast of the latest happenings. To fill in the gap, there is RSS News Hub, a native and intuitive application for all your subscription needs.
To be honest, I actually view feeds at work via MS Outlook. Adding and reading them is not the most enjoyable experience. With RSS News Hub, entering and finding RSS feeds is painless, without requiring the user to create an account. Simply enter in the feed URL or the main web address and RSS does the rest. It scans for available feeds and, if found, displays them for you to select.
For further customization, you may toggle on or off the option to enable notifications, select a corresponding LED Color, or choose an icon for how the feed appears in your list if not satisfied with the default. Once enabled, notifications appear under that heading in the Hub and the corresponding color flashes to indicate when new feeds are available.
Feeds can be exported by swiping down from the top for backup and restore purposes. However, for those wishing to access them from other services such as Feedly or Digg, there is an import button as well. Please note the developer is currently working on Feedly integration now that the API's have opened up.
For me, it's all about the visual capability and reading experience. Articles are neatly arranged in reverse chronological order though sorting by unread is available. Font size for thumbnails and reader view is adjustable which is a plus for anyone not fond of tiny print. Finally, there is a slider bar which allows you to navigate between reader and web view and a link to open in the browser if more convenient is located at the bottom. Tapping on each post displays a quick synopsis (or first few lines of text) which aids in the decision on whether to move on to the full article. Being native means no lag is evident and it flows quite nicely between screens.
What is especially helpful is the options available for Q5/Q10 users. As they do not have the same size screen as the Z10, this is accounted for. Digging deeper into settings, users can change between the light and dark theme, auto-hide the action bar, toggle images on or off, and remove the unread bar at the top so nothing is cut off.
An interesting feature which I prefer, is the search option. By entering in a keyword you can establish your own personal feed. Articles are populated either through Google News or Yahoo News, whichever you decide to use, based on that term.
With all of this said, I'm sure heavy users will clamor for additional tweaks here and there such as being able to search within feeds. As for me it fits my needs perfectly. When not at home I want instant access to news which this more than adequately provides. You won't be disappointed and the developer is already compiling a list of features for future releases.
- Quickly add feeds from browser or by inputting address
- Active Frame support
- Feeds are arranged by predetermined topics
- No account required to use
- Displays unread count next to each feed
- Share stories using BlackBerry framework
- Cache feeds for offline viewing
- No search within feeds capability
- Unable to reorder feeds
- Cannot mark as favorite when adding a feed
The Bottom Line
RSS Hub is a great option for users to manage their feeds and have instant access to their favorite news and blog sites for $0.99. Originally conceived by the developer so he could personally read RSS feeds offline, it has grown into a feature-rich tool that everyone can enjoy. With it's easy to read and navigate interface, it is compatible with all BlackBerry 10 devices.