Every year, the smartphone world gathers in Spain for a giant trade show called Mobile World Congress, MWC for short. Thousands of exhibitors show off their current and coming wares, including smartphones, wearable technology and new apps. At this year’s congress, a few apps can guide you through the news.
The TechCrunch app is a great place to start, and it’s free on iOS and Android. TechCrunch is a website that tries to keep up with all sorts of technology news; the app delivers the same news in an accessible way. The app’s main page shows the latest news articles in a scrollable list. Each headline is shown next to a thumbnail image so that you can understand what the full article is about. There is also an indication of how many comments an article has received, so you can see which are the hot topics.
A click takes you to a page containing the full text and images. Clear controls make the text larger or smaller and allow you to share the story online.
If you want to show only those articles related to mobile technology, such as those coming from next week’s trade show, this can be done via a tap on the menu button, or by searching for keywords. The app is easy to use and the content is fresh, which will be useful if you want to track the week’s events.
The Engadget app is another source of great tech news, which will include the latest from Mobile World Congress. It’s similar in design and function to the TechCrunch app, with a few differences. The top menu gives quick access to a list of recent videos featured on the app, as well as to articles you have marked as favourites for later reading.
Tapping on the menu icon reveals a sidebar, where you can elect to see only reviews, image galleries and news by topic, as well as a few other controls. Tapping on the topic button reveals a new page where you can choose from a long list of news categories, including “cellphones”, “wearables” and others that will be useful for the trade show. You can then see a list of articles that fit each category.
The app does have one problem: If you properly close this app, it forgets your topic choice, so you will have to keep tapping if you only want to see cellphone news.
The app’s content is more conversational and light-hearted than you will typically find on TechCrunch, which makes for easier reading. The Engadget app isn’t perfect, though, and some app store reviewers complain it can be slow. Engadget is free on iOS and Android.
CNET reporting team members are regulars at the Mobile World Congress, and they cover many of the cellphone manufacturers’ special debut events live, as well as sharing other news and reports from the show. The CNET app is a great way to get this content.
Though this app is also designed as a scrollable list, the news articles in the list are presented in a more attractive way, with larger images than in rival apps. From the top menu bar of the app you can also choose to see featured articles or the list of latest published news.
The app does not break down its news content by topic, however. If you are specifically interested in learning about a new phone from Samsung, for example, you may have to use the search feature, or scroll through the home page list to find the news.
When you tap to read an article, you will find it reads much the same as if you were reading on the mobile web. While this is no bad thing, the text can seem quite small and there is no way to change its size, as in the TechCrunch app. CNET’s app is free on iOS and Android.
I like using news aggregator apps myself, and there’s a very good one that collects only science and technology news—meaning it is perfect for keeping abreast of MWC developments. It’s called Appy Geek, and it’s a good, image-driven way to find news stories drawn from multiple online sources.
The app lets you choose your favourite categories to display on the “my topics” home page, with choices like the topics “mobile broadband” or “app store”, or cellphone brands like Samsung.
When you click into one topic, you are presented with fresh news articles that the app has collected from its many sources, in the form of a scrolling list of large images. These are accompanied by headlines and indications of how new the news is and its source. The “my news” page in the app shows a similar list of all the articles across all your favourite categories.
Appy Geek will be useful during next week’s trade show, and there’s very little to complain about in terms of its design and utility. It’s free for iOS and Android.
Enjoy reading about the coming generation of shiny new smartphones on these apps, and remember that many of the apps will remain useful after the trade show is over.