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REVIEW: NewsGator Mobile for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 10.04.06 - 21:09:03 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 17125x
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I'm sure, most of you have heard about NewGator, the leading RSS feed service service. NewsGator develops and markets RSS aggregation solutions for individual end users, enterprises, publishers and other online content providers. I'm using NewsGator aggregators since 2004 to access news, information and other relevant content efficiently and effectively via the web, Microsoft Outlook and my Windows XP Media Center Edition which most of you might do as well but are you aware of the Mobile Edition for small-screen HTML-enabled devices like Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Smartphones?
The charme of NewsGator, which will also be released as a Windows Mobile client soon, is that all of the different platforms synchronize seamlessly, enabling you to easily switch between NewsGator aggregators. That's why I enjoy to use NewsGator because while I commute to the office, I could read the latest news RSS feeds on my Windows Mobile devices, in the office I either access my NewsGator account through my Outlook client or through the web interface (which is AJAX-enabled now) and at home I can read the latest news on my XP Media Center Edition PC, right from my couch (on the left the Outlook interface, on the right the web interface):

Nevertheless, NewsGator also has a Mobile Edition which is pretty much unknown since it isn't promoted that much at all and it requires a NewsGator Online Premium Package which costs you US$ 19.95 per year but adds several goodies to the standard and free NewsGator Online subscription:

  • Outlook Edition (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)
  • Synchronization
  • NewsGator MCX
  • NewsGator Mobile HTML Reader (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)
  • NewsGator Email (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)
  • 20 Keyword search feeds (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)
  • 2 URL search feeds (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)
  • 2 Email feeds (NewsGator Online Premium Package only)

Unfortunately, you have to activate the Mobile Edition to get it working, since it isn't activated out of the box if you create your account and the tutorial is a little bit weak. It took me a while to find the right location. If you already own a NewsGator Online Premium Package, click here to activate it (but make sure you are logged into your NewsGator account first).

So after you activated it by giving your account a unique PIN you can go to you Mobile Edition from your Windows Mobile device to read your NewsGator RSS feeds on your mobile device as well. It also provides you a unique URL you have to enter on your mobile device to directly get your Mobile Edition. If you just enter the NewsGator homepage URL, you will not be redirected automatically which is a little bit weak. Since the URL is fairly long and complicated to enter on the Windows Mobile device (especially on Smartphones) I recommend to open it on your PC and add it there as a Mobile Favorite:

However, NewsGator also allows you to enabled/disable the RSS feeds you get on your mobile device. This is pretty handy if you have too many RSS feeds you might want to read on your PC but not on your mobile device:

That's it. After you have saved everything you can sync your new Favorite to your Windows Mobile device and open it there:

And as you can see above it even supports RSS feeds which includes images, like for instance from Engadget. However, if you open such feeds, keep in mind that these feeds can be huge and depending on your tariff, this can become expansive (according to my Smartphone, an Engadget feed could easily includes 1900 KB of data or even more, something you shouldn't download via GPRS).

Final Conclusion

The NewsGator Mobile Edition is pretty handy if you want to have one single place to store all your RSS feeds and to make them synchronized each other. While a web browser might be good enough on PCs to follow all your RSS feeds (at least there are also plenty of other web based RSS readers) on a mobile device it comes to its limit, for regular use. While I'm using NewsGator Mobile regularly to check other feeds, I don't have in my regular RSS application (I'm currently using the latest version of NewsBreak on my Pocket PC and Smartphone), in my humble opinion it's not enough to use it as your single RSS reader for Pocket PCs and Smartphones.
Nevertheless, NewsGator already announced that it is working now on a Windows Mobile client which will work - similar to the Outlook Edition which might becomes interesting than. Until it is released I will stay with a dedicated RSS reader but anyway - NewsGator's concept to sync feeds across different devices and platforms is brilliant anyway and will becomes a tough competition for today's Windows Mobile RSS readers, latest with the client-version.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by Cheezr on 03.05.06 - 05:32:31

how is this different than bloglines (other than the fee)?
I read my news feeds on bloglines on 2 PC's and my smart phone and it is sync'd and it is free.

what am i missing here?

tx
Czr

Posted by Arne Hess on 03.05.06 - 10:36:45

The difference is, that there is no off-line reader is available, like for NewsGator, the Outlook plug-in which I use most of the time. Also Bloglines, AFAIK it doesn't has a Media Center plug-in.
Regarding the web-versions you are right, both offers a PC and mobile front-end but for me, the charm is the cooperation of these front-ends with the offline reader and the Media Center extension which allows me to ream my feeds from the couch as well, without firing up my PC.
Last but not least, as mentioned in the review, Outlook is currently working on a Windows Mobile version as well, which means you don't have to use the mobile web version in the future anymore.

Posted by RR on 07.05.06 - 16:54:24

Why wouldn't people just use http://reader.google.com

Posted by Arne Hess on 07.05.06 - 19:39:45

Because it's neither optimized for Windows Mobile nor it's working with the Mobile Internet Explorer.

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