News is an essential thing. I don't follow TV as much as I consume news through the iPhone and the iPad (and of course, the computer) and it's not just me. Millions of people around the world consume more news via the internet than the television or the papers.
And so we have a ton of apps on the Store that cater to this crowd. News apps.
Besides the newspapers having apps of their own, there are also third-party vendors who curate the news from various sources and present them to you.
At its core, that's what Track180 does. It curates the best news from across a plethora of sources and delivers it to you. But where it differs can be broadly quantized into three aspects:
- The way it delivers the news
- Perspective / Contextualization of one story, branching out into a hundred other related stories
When I first began using Track180, the potential of the app was instantly recognizable: it not only brought news in a digestible, comfortable and a native format but also allowed for instant research through related coverage.
Track180 is a great app for discovering news but it works even better when you want to go deeper into a story and find out the various perspectives it has. That particular feature is not hard to implement but it's harder to present it in such a way that doesn't throw you off balance or overwhelm you.
What Makes Track180 Stand Out:
- The interface has some real charm to it. For starters, it's not the boring old interfaces I've seen on most popular news app. The giant circles floating around the canvas are not distractive either.
- The app is a testimony to the fact that several seemingly-unrelated stories are in reality inter-connected. Track180's USP is identifying this interconnectedness and the expanse of how one story can open up a lot of other information for you.
- Track180 is a powerful tool for journalists, for people who are into serious news-reading and for users who're looking beyond the headlines.
- Breaks free from information overload but at its core, it's still functioning as a news-intensive application that can take you through a journey of perspectives and related news items.
- A fully native experience: a separate frame opens up within the app when you click on a news chunk. This is a win-win because you get to see the news as it appears on the source website and yet you don't leave the app.
I am given to understand that Track180 is run by seasoned editors who've had a lot of experience in real-world journalism. However, this is not just the only thing that appears to drive the app. What adds to the experience is the understanding of two core things: the internet is a place where information overload is easy and the seamless merging of traditional news curation into a technological wireframe.
At the moment, Track180 features news from six core categories and I felt that this is going to be a limitation preventing the app from appealing to a lot of people. In the coming months, this will change as the developers will include more categories making it even more intensive and rich.
There aren't very many apps like Track180 on the store. While news-intensive users will instantly warm up to the app, it will be interesting to see how the general user laps it up.
Bottom line: Track180 is not just a news app.
The app is built for iPad and iPad Mini only.