Whoever said “the best things in life are free” probably never heard about Pulse. But the sentiment is correct for one of the best real-time iPad news reader apps around.
Pulse is an RSS feed on steroids. It allows you to arrange your feed content into easy–to-browse, scrolling headlines. Its slick magazine quality graphics feel like your own personal stack of magazines and websites. You can also personalize content by categories such as News, Business, Sports, Design, Food, and Tech.
Browsing through the app, I’ve discovered new sites and reintroduced myself to favorites like The Atlantic, BBC and Fast Company. Plus, you can add any RSS feed to Pulse.
I also like that Pulse prominently displays the image associated with each story (as opposed to an abstract). Its very pleasing visually. Viewing a variety of stories from all your favorite publications at one time is a real time-saver and engagement winner.
The way we use our iPads has contributed to the popularity of Pulse. I turn to Pulse first thing in the morning, much as I used to do with a newspaper. For others, the iPad is the go-to leisure time reader. It is the mobile device that we favor for couch surfing and bedtime reading. Research has shown that consumption of articles in an iPad raises dramatically in the evening hours from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pulse fits perfectly into our evenings and weekends.
Users can add Facebook and Twitter accounts as content sources, connect their Google Reader accounts or add individual RSS feeds or websites. The application supports up to 25 different news sources.
And this month, Pulse added six popular social media sites as sources: Reddit, Digg, Vimeo, YouTube, Picplz and Flickr.
Pulse is less than a year old but it’s growing by leaps and bounds. An infusion of capital allowed parent company Alphonso Labs to move from a paid to a free site. The Pulse reader was developed by two talented young men, Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta, who created the app in ten weeks for a course at Stanford University. After launch, it became a best-selling application in the iTunes App store.
The way we read is changing and while Pulse is the leader now, it will be interesting to see what tools will be our go-to in the next year.