FeedPoint For Windows Phone 7

FeedPoint is a Google Reader client app for Windows Phone 7. If you aren’t familiar with it, Google Reader is a web-based Really Simple Syndication (RSS) free reader app. I use Google Reader to follow hundreds of web sites, and the challenge for any smartphone client app is to synchronize what you read on the phone with Google Reader so that you don’t read the same item multiple times.

Unfortunately, I had problems getting FeedPoint to consistently mark items as read. I open a subscription, then click the menu expand button and click Mark All As Read. After a few seconds all of the items clear from the screen, but after returning to the subscriptions list FeedPoint would either refresh feeds or refresh unread counts and in both cases the read items return. Some times FeedPoint properly updates Google Reader, but other times it doesn’t so I hope that feed updating is improved to be more reliable.

After entering my credentials to access Google Reader, FeedPoint retrieved all of my subscriptions. FeedPoint does not handle folders the same way as Google Reader. In Google Reader I click a folder to display a consolidated list of all the unread items for the subscriptions in that folder. FeedPoint filters the list of subscriptions to only those in a folder, but you have to click each subscription to see unread items.

FeedPoint indicates the number of unread items for each subscription, but it doesn’t appear to actually retrieve the items until you actually click the subscription. The result is that after you open a subscription there will be a delay as the app retrieves all of the items. I suspect the inability to refresh items in the background is a constraint of Windows Phone 7.

The app developer says he modeled FeedPoint after the mail app in Windows Phone 7, and it shows. It is a pleasure to read items in FeedPoint, particularly on the HD7’s large display. Tapping the menu expand button shows options for staring an item, keeping it unread, or liking it. The menu bar has buttons to enlarge and shrink the text as well as move back and forth through unread items.

I don’t know whether FeedPoint’s refresh problems are being caused by the app, the network, or Google Reader, but my hope is that improvements are made so that it works reliably. There are several other apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace that work with Google Reader, all with varying prices. FeedPoint costs $.99, most of the others cost $1.99.

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