Pulse Newsreader Now Available For Free

You might recall that back in June there was a news reader app for the iPad called Pulse that quickly became popular, but had some initial controversy because at the time the app cost $3.99 and it included the New York times news feed by default. Apple initially pulled Pulse from the app store but quickly re-instated it, where it has been ever since. Pulse’s inclusion of a default set of newsfeeds was not new, but apparently the New York Times claimed it violated their copyright.

After costing $3.99 for several months, the developers of Pulse have decided to release it for free across all platforms, so you can now grab it for free on the iPhone, iPad, iPhone Touch, and Android devices. I decided to check out the Android version of the app, which I downloaded from the Android Market, and I was happy to see App2SD tell me that Pulse can be moved to the SD Card, which I immediately did. In my preliminary testing on my Nexus One Pulse seems a little slow moving within the app, which might be attributable to being on the SD Card.

Pulse is a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed reader. You might notice web sites that have an RSS link, in fact you will find ours in the upper right-hand side of the page just below the Send An Anonymous tip box. Several programs are available that automatically retrieve content from web sites using RSS, and of course Pulse is one of those apps. You don’t need to hunt down the RSS links of your favorite web sites because it is likely that Pulse already knows it, you just tap the Settings button at the upper left-hand side of the screen, and then tap the plus button to scroll through a number of featured feeds.

One of the options available for selecting adding feeds is Google Reader. If you use Google Reader to manage and read RSS feeds, Pulse can log in to your account, retrieve the feeds that you subscribe to, which you can then select for reading in Pulse. Pulse is a Google Reader client, by which I mean that when you read an item in Pulse it is also marked as read in Google Reader so that you don’t see it amongst new items in Google Reader. You can also star items to refer to them later in Google Reader.

As you can see in the screen shot, Pulse is very graphical, and displays pictures embedded in articles as thumbnails on main page. You just tap one of the thumbnails to open the article, which you can scroll up and down to read. Swiping left or right on the screen moves you from one item to the next in the the RSS feed. When you are in an article you will see the name of the RSS feed at the bottom of the screen, and if you tap the feed name a horizontal thumbnail preview pane opens, which you can swipe left and right to jump ahead between items.

From my brief experience I think Pulse is a very good RSS feed reader on Android and I plan to continue using it. I am particularly happy that Pulse installs on the SD Card so it doesn’t take up the precious storage in my phone, which some of the other RSS feed readers I have tried do. You will find Pulse in the Android Market, and if you instead have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad you can install it from the ITunes App store. (Note that the AppBrain link I am providing still shows that Pulse costs $.99, but it is in fact free in the Android Market.)