For some reason, the WP Store has a particularly strong news category. Windows Phone still can’t compete against iOS or Android if you are looking at photo editors or games, but almost all major news services have released their WP7 and WP8 clients. Last month, Al Jazeera became the latest big name to join the ranks of WP8 news apps, and now we have an even bigger release in the Store. The NBC network already had some Windows Phone presence, thanks to its Breaking News and Nightly News apps, but with NBC News, there is now a proper WP8 app of the news giant that takes full advantage of the features available in the OS.
NBC News displays a screen showing some basic instructions when the app is launched for the first time. Navigating the app’s different sections isn’t too difficult though; even without conventionally launching the app, you can use WP8’s own voice commands to open the app or even a particular category within it directly.
The ‘Top Stories’ section of NBC News contains videos and articles dealing with the latest happenings around the world. Swipe to the right if you want to get more specific, and browse the feeds based on categories. The app supports categories including US news, world news, business, technology, travel, etc.
NBC has a lot of TV shows – in fact Android has a dedicated app just for the network’s shows, but since NBC News is a pretty specific app, the WP8 client’s ‘TV Shows’ section lists only the programs that are popular on the news channel. You can stream latest episodes of your favorite news shows for free, and the app even arranges them in playlists for you.
While reading a story or watching a video report on NBC News, users can share the item over social media or through email. Video controls can be viewed by tapping the screen once. For written articles, the app offers the option to convert text into speech. Unfortunately, the stories are spoken only for as long as the screen remains active.
From the NBC News settings, you can choose to allow the app to take control of your device’s lock screen and cycle through different wallpapers that are taken from the latest news stories. The app also supports live tiles, and it is even possible to pin individual categories to the Start screen, rather than just the app itself.
NBC News is a free app, and works only with WP8 devices. Features like reading articles and voice commands make it different from other news apps available for the platform.