News integrators like Flipboard are great if you are looking to stay in touch with latest happenings from around the world without having to spend a lot of time. However, these apps can not serve as true replacements for official clients of popular news agencies and TV channels. Dedicated apps offer access to exclusive content, news stories that are hot off the presses and other interesting material. So, it is certainly good to see official clients of famous news services coming to Windows Phone. The BBC and CNN apps have been around in the WP Store for quite a while now, but it has taken Al Jazeera more than two years to come to Windows Phone after Android. Better late than never, and the app turns out to be pretty decent as well, bringing live streaming, picture galleries and the ability to preload articles for offline viewing.
The app isn’t as customizable as some of the other news clients available for Windows Phone, with the ‘Home’ screen showing a predefined grid of topics, but the search button can help you in finding any topic. Details regarding the latest news stories, articles, videos and photos are all accessible from this section of the app. The ‘frontpage’ area shows headlines, and can also alert you whenever a new episode of a popular show becomes available. When it comes to actual news stories, most of them are accompanied by videos or at least images, and can be shared over social media or via email.
The app’s search menu can keep your history saved, and you can also use it to view the articles that have been bookmarked in the past. It is also possible to use the ‘saved searches’ section as your personalized feeds area of Al Jazeera, if you save searches with the right kind of keywords.
By far, the best feature of Al Jazeera for WP is the app’s live streaming capability. All you need is a decent internet connection to watch the service’s English broadcast live on your phone. And in case your data connection isn’t fast enough for handling video, there is the option of streaming just the audio.
Al Jazeera can double as a passable weather app, showing forecasts and current conditions of your area. To configure this feature, head to the settings menu and select your city. From the same menu, it is possible to set the app to preload articles for offline reading.
Al Jazeera is a neat app, but it is far from perfect for now. Live tile support and notifications are sure to go a long way in making the app a favorite for a lot of users. Al Jazeera works with both WP7 and WP8, and you can grab it for free by heading to the following link.