NewsBrain (US$4.99) is a new app to deliver news you are interested in and present it on your iOS device. The app learns from your likes and dislikes, which you can register on a sliding scale that includes degrees of attraction, neutrality or repellency.
You log in using a Google, Twitter or WordPress account. Articles are sourced through Feedly. Once the app learns your interest, it gets pretty good at predicting other articles that meet your criteria.
"NewsBrain learns your interests using a unique neural technology. There's no need to wade through the internet looking for interesting things to read, since NewsBrain finds it for you. It starts out as a general interest magazine, but as you flip through pages, read articles and indicate which ones interest or disinterest you, it quickly customizes itself and becomes a highly personalized magazine geared to your specific interests and tastes," according to Mike O'Connor, the developer of the software.
I spent some time with the app, and found that after a while it did figure out what I was and was not interested in. The GUI seems a bit overwhelmed by the information, and it is a bit too busy to quickly comprehend an article. Sometimes text is overlaid on a graphic, making things a bit hard to read.
NewsBrain is dependent on seeing what you read. Unlike Zite, I see no way to seed a particular subject.
NewsBrain is a good idea, but a $5 app will find it hard to compete with the free Zite and Flipboard apps. Zite also learns from what subjects you are spending time with, and in short order you have a very personalized, easy-to-read magazine. Newsbrain is aiming for the same end result, but it's still a little rough around the edges. There is a thorough help file built in.
With some cleanup of the pages, which are easier to read on an iPad than an iPhone, the app may do quite well. It will depend on how good it is at figuring out what you are interested in. It certainly has promise, but at this point is not a match for Zite, either in price, features, GUI or range of subject matter.
NewsBrain requires iOS 7, and it's a universal app. It's optimized for the iPhone 5.
- Key specs
- Form factor Tablet
- Operating system iOS (8)
- Screen size 9.7 inches
- Storage type Internal storage (16 GB, Flash)
- Maximum battery life Up to 10 hours
- Dimensions 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 in
- Weight 0.96 lb
- Announced 2014-10-16
Apple iPhone 6s