CBS has added features and done some cosmetic cleanup of its free CBS News app. The universal app adds live streaming from CBSN, the network's recently launched 24/7 live streaming feed.
Other changes are a completely new design, with more images and full screen galleries.You can select news by type, like tech or sports, and rearrange the menus. You can also find broadcasts from CBS, like the Evening News and 60 Minutes.
All in all, this is a nice update, but I think it falls short of what a news junkie would like. Other than menu order, there is really no customization here -- you get what you get. The app has no idea what kind of news mix you want. It's simply not very granular. You can get sports news, but not set the app for "no baseball" for example.
News alerts are whatever CBS wants you to see, but you can't customize those either. The design of the app is very readable, and while the fonts are available in three sizes, I think they are all too big and the app shows a lot of white space that is wasted.
CBS bills itself as 'always on' with its new streaming feature, but several times all I got was a commercial followed by a screen that said "we'll be right back." That's not always on. I will say that the video streaming, when it is there, is of very high quality, and it is full screen.
Perhaps the worst fumble is that there is no local news. Nothing. Zip. CBS has affiliates all over the country. Where is any targeted local news? If Microsoft can figure this out for their news app, so can CBS. I should note that NBC doesn't offer local news it it's app either, and ABC News offers local videos, and asked my location, but couldn't find a thing to show me. Yes, many affiliates have their own local apps, but why can't local news be embedded in the CBS app?
The CBS News app is nice looking, but it's lacking in features that serious news consumers will want. The app is universal, and works well on an iPad in landscape mode. It requires iOS 7 or later and has been optimized for all the new iPhones. The app is a great start, but has a way to go.