(Image courtesy of The New York Times)
Despite the downward spiral of print publishing, news reading apps such as the popular Pulse News Reader are doing the opposite -- and now, print executives are going to follow the money trail as their readers flock to the Internet and mobile devices.
The New York Times is reporting that Alphonso Labs, developers of the wildly popular Pulse News Reader apps for the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch, have raised $800,000 in venture capital. As a result, the company is changing its focus and will now offer the Pulse apps for free, with a goal “to attract more users, and with them, paid partnerships with publishers and content.”
The Pulse app was a success after only six weeks, and now developers Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta are ready to take that success to the next level. The app first debuted on the iPad where it caught the notice of even Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who highlighted the app at the introduction of the iPhone 4 -- much to the surprise of its creators. Since then, the app has moved to the iPhone/iPod touch and Android as well, with an Android tablet version forthcoming.
Pulse comes out of the box (so to speak) with a number of popular feeds ready to go, including tech sites such as Engadget, Gizmodo and TechCrunch (what, no MacLife?!). Others can easily be added by logging in to your Google Reader account and selecting up to 60 sources, or even using the Bump service to receive or share feeds with friends. Articles can be easily shared via e-mail, on Twitter or Facebook or saved for later reading with Instapaper.
“We were increasingly reading news on our mobile phones, and we were getting our news from a lot of different sources,” said Kothari, co-founder and chief executive of Alphonso Labs. “Being able to aggregate all of that content in one place was interesting.”
Among the publications who have embraced Pulse is The Huffington Post, which features customized feeds, bigger pictures and full-length articles within the app. Chief technology officer Paul Berry finds that being on Pulse doesn’t take away readers from their own site, but rather helps create new readers thanks to articles shared with friends. “We feel they are potentially capable of generating significant social traffic to all publishers,” Berry explained.
If you were hesitant to spend money on Pulse before, there’s no reason now not to give it a try -- both the iPad and iPhone/iPod touch “Mini” versions are now free to download from the App Store. Find out today why Pulse is one of the top-selling news apps and frequently among the top 40 apps overall.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter