Google Play Store offers enough quality RSS readers and news apps to make the choice between them quite tough. Ranging from heavyweights like Flipboard and Google Currents to the likes of the official Google Reader Android app, there are plenty of options available that can help you keep up with the latest content from your RSS subscriptions. However, if you’re looking for a Google Reader alternative designed in compliance with the latest Android GUI guidelines and offering better control over syncing and caching of items, take a look at Flow Reader. Currently in beta, Flow Reader is an elegant, Holo-themed Google Reader client for Android offering certain features that are hard to find in most rival apps.
For starters, Flow Reader is one of the few feed readers that lets you browse items by author. In addition, the app’s Holo layout lets you switch between the latest, unread and starred items with a mere swipe. In fact, most of the app’s features are controllable with simple swipes and various other gestures.
Flow Reader comes with all the basic features you’ll require for a decent reading and bookmarking experience on Android. There is the option to browse all your Google Reader RSS feed subscriptions in various ways, star favorite items, explore complete stories via the built-in reader UI, share interesting news with others, mark items as read/unread, and keep all the content in sync between your Android device and Google Reader account.
When it comes to synchronization, Flow Reader offers you the option to sync content over Wi-Fi only, to help you save on your mobile data use. It lets you specify the maximum number of latest and starred items to sync for offline reading. You can also select the maximum number of parallel downloads to sync more content to your device in the least possible time. Another useful feature of Flow Reader comes in the form of content filtering. You can add certain custom keywords to the app’s filtering section, and any story containing those keywords will be automatically mark as read.
While browsing your subscriptions, you can long-press a story to mark it as read/unread. Holding down on a story cover lets you mark other stories as read, or star/unstar the selected one. Sliding upwards from the bottom edge of the screen reveals a seek bar to help you easily navigate to other pages of the current subscription. You can also swipe sideways to scroll through consecutive pages. Each story is loaded with all its images and hyperlinks. The bottom segment of the page offers shortcuts to mark the story as read/unread, star, share, and open it in your web browser. Also, you can quickly navigate to the top/bottom of the page by tapping the menu button.
Since Flow Reader is currently in beta, you can expect a few odd performance glitches. Also, the app is currently lacking some crucial elements required to provide a complete Google Reader experience. The option to subscribe and unsubscribe required content is the biggest miss at the moment, as is a widget. Hopefully by the time Flow Reader exits bets, it’ll emerge as one of the most complete Google Reader clients for Android in terms of both layout and feature set.
Flow Reader is currently compatible with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher devices only. You can install the app by heading over to the Play Store link provided below.