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While newspapers cling to the last remains of the Fourth Estate, their digital news-gathering counterparts have never been more relevant. Most every major news outlet has an iOS app or full-featured mobile website to respond to readers’ salacious appetite for 24/7 coverage, and there are any number of slick RSS aggregators and readers that beam a nonstop stream of headlines to your iPad or iPhone.
News Republic is a bit of all of that rolled into one. For starters, its photo-based interface is delightful on either an iPhone or iPad, but it excels on the latter, where the extensive lists of headlines have room to breathe. Any article can be saved and shared, and embedded tags can be searched in Wikipedia, Google, YouTube or Twitter -- all without leaving the app. Which is good, because you won’t want to leave.
We expect iOS readers to be customizable, but News Republic has a few tricks we weren’t expecting. Not only will it "learn" your tastes and sort articles appropriately in the "My News" section, but it also doesn't limit users to a specific feed; instead of scrolling through the latest stories from eWeek or TechRadar for the latest from Cupertino, you can tell News Republic to gather only those stories where "iPhone" or "Apple" appear.
News Republic’s fairly extensive list of providers is heavy on hard news outlets (you won't see a Flipboard-like list of your favorite blogs), but we found its feeds to be dominated by prolific services such as AP and AFP. Breaking news notifications aren’t overly intrusive -- I received about three a day -- but then again, they weren’t always that timely, as seen by stock market news showing up after 5pm.
The bottom line. News Republic is built for information junkies who want the newspaper experience without all the pesky ink.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 3.0 or later
Slick interface, powerful personalization, great sharing/searching integration.
Limited providers, slow notifications, cramped display on iPhone/iPod touch.