Keeping up with news of any kind is pretty simple these days thanks to the swathe of smartphone apps and the abundance of online content. When it comes to newsreaders on Android and iOS, there’s really not any shortage of such apps on both these platforms. But Newsbeat –by Tribune Digital Ventures – is a free, well-designed news app that brings something unique to the table. Instead of letting you read long-winded news stories, it narrates them for you using text-to-speech technology. The clear dialogue in turn makes it fairly similar to how you hear the news on radio or podcasts. The really interesting bit is that instead of a select few stories, you can listen to literally any news you want and curate news playlists of your topics that interest you, as well as select custom news sources and sections.
The app sports a really attractive and intuitive user interface. When launched, Newsbeat presents a number of popular news stories from thousands of articles related to different topics. You can swipe left or right to select the news you want to read or hear. Tap on the one you find interesting, and Newsbeat will begin reciting it for you.
The app automatically converts the article text in to audio. Some news stories are playback via text-to-speech while sometimes they comprise of actual human voices making them more vivid and radio-esque. The developer claims that the app is a pretty exquisite solution for commuters who want to keep a tab on popular news while on their way to work. Users can also specify personal data like their name and address, and Newbeat will automatically customize a news playlist based on their location.
Newsbeat is like your personal news anchor that only casts the news you want to hear. The UI carries play/pause, next and previous buttons at the bottom to let you control the audio playback and skip stories. Every newscast is presented in high quality audio, from both local and international authentic publications which includes but is not limited to CNN, BBC, Fox News and more.
As mentioned earlier, you can also hand-pick custom topics and sources of your choice if you want. To do that, tap the menu button at top left corner and choose pertaining action from the sidebar, which lets you navigate to My Info, My Topics, My Sections, My News Sources and Daily Digest, which signs you up to deliver a daily email digest right in your inbox
Specifying a custom topic is pretty easy, simply tap on it and enter the topic name in search field. From there, Newsbeat searches for topics containing keywords you typed and you can highlight the topics that you want.
Furthermore, you can also go into My Sections and designate the kind of news you want to hear such as from World, US, Local, Business, Politics, etc. All you have to do is choose the level of interest in each topic and Newsbeat will do the rest.
Newsbeat is available for free on both iOS and Android, though that comes at the cost of ads every 10 minutes between the playback session. You can download it via the links below.