Back when we covered Rockmelt for iOS in December last year, the app left us utterly impressed with its distinct approach towards user-curated, personalized content from around the social media, along with Rockmelt’s own tailored stories gathered from popular sources. Despite initially launching as a socially focused web browser, the app eventually turned into something more like a Flipboard-inspired service with a similar design language. Up until now, it was only available on the iOS platform, leaving the almost billion-strong Android user base in the dust. Looks like the company has finally listened to its followers as today marks the release of Rockmelt on Android, and it looks absolutely awesome with a drastically revamped and much improved UI, loads of features and impressive design.
Being addicted to Flipboard, I didn’t have much expectations from Rockmelt as the former already suffices for quickly browsing my favorite content from its ever-increasing collection. However, upon using Rockmelt, I found some interesting differences between the two. Rockmelt’s Android app builds on a new concept, which shows you interesting stories from around the web that you can share or respond to via specific emotions like ‘hmm’, ‘wtf’, ‘lol’ and so on. It may seem a bit out of the line, but that’s one of the core ideas behind Rockmelt’s design philosophy.
To get started, you need to sign up for a Rockmelt account, unless you already have one. The service allows you to quickly create an account using your Facebook, Google+, Twitter or email credentials. Once you’re done with the sign up process, Rockmelt then asks you to pick at least 5 categories related to your interests. There are several categories available to choose from, including business, cars, arts, lifestyle, health, games, science etc. After you’re done making your selection, simply tap Done at the top-right.
The landing screen of Rockmelt looks strikingly simple. You can swipe up and down to reveal further stories in the news stream, and this is where the app does feel like Flipboard to some extent. When you move up the stream, a rounded Rockmelt button pops up, tapping which allows you to jump to the Explore, Home and Popular sections. Another new feature specific to Android is what Rockmelt calls ‘elevator’, which automatically appears at the top when your personalized feed is updated with newer content while you’re scrolling through it. Tapping this button brings you back to the top, revealing the new content.
Tapping a story in the news feed displays the underlying content, which may comprise articles, videos or photos. As we mentioned earlier, you can leave your response on the current content using emotions; all you need to do is tap the share button at the bottom-right and pick your choice. That said, you can also save stories to your ‘Kept Items’ list for later reading. To save a story, simply long-press on the content and select the pertaining action from there on. Kept Items can then be easily accessed later by swiping from the left edge of the screen. Rockmelt also displays notifications regarding how your friends have been responding to the content shared by you on social media.
Even though Rockmelt doesn’t introduces something entirely groundbreaking, some of its interesting elements like personalized feeds, emotion responses and instant notifications make it worth a try.