RSS and mobile phones — a perfect match

Posted on February 16, 2008

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Until now, I’ve never been a huge user of RSS reader applications. I’ve got a Google Reader account, but it’s never become a part of my everyday habits as an infovore. I’ve always been able to relate to the vast majority of onlien users who don’t understand what RSS is — of don’t care.

Viigo RSS reader in actionBut since I discovered the excellent Viigo RSS reader for my Blackberry, I’ve found myself using RSS constantly. Indeed, I now actively seek out good quality RSS feeds.

Because RSS is perfect for mobile phones.

Viewing an RSS feed instead of a website enables a highly optimised user experience for mobile browsers:

  • the navigation is consistent regardless of the site of origin,
  • the content is boiled down to unformatted paragraphs and inline images, so it fits any screen size,
  • articles take up minimal bandwidth,
  • and RSS readers typically download new articles in the background.

Because Viigo constantly retrieves and caches the latest articles, I never have to wait for content to download over the Blackberry’s 2G data connection. In fact, the sense of speed is superior to browsing over a 3G connection — there’s just no waiting.

And because of this instant access to content, you feel able to jump into a blog like Techcrunch or ReadWriteWeb even if you’ve only got a couple of spare minutes. You’ve always got your phone, so you’ve always got your feeds. An elevator ride becomes an opportunity to see who’s just joined the deadpool.

Of course, this mobile nirvana requires publishers to deliver full articles through their feeds. Feeds that only offer summaries are unbearably frustrating — suddenly the slow connection speeds and latency of the mobile platform come crashing in on you. It’s an old argument, but partial feeds on a mobile phone almost offer negative amenity.

Heck — I don’t even mind putting up with embedded advertising in the feeds, if it means I can read the entire article.

RSS and mobile: a match made in heaven.

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