Over the past half decade or so, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds have rapidly expanded in use. Back when ‘twitter’ was still solely what birds did to communicate, RSS feeds aggregated headlines, articles, scores and other content in a real-time stream.
While the initial concept behind RSS has stayed the same, the presentation has evolved quickly, especially since the advent of the App Store. The list of great RSS readers for the iPhone and iPad has grown and matured, and Slide Reader should be included within such discussions.
In terms of features, it seems as if Flip Media thought of (just about) everything. Just to list a few, they included: multiple profiles, sync with Google Reader, feed catalog, free themes (AKA skins), sharing (email, Facebook and Twitter) and support in eight languages.
Just to make sure you don’t get lost, there is a three minute intro video explaining the interface and features (see below). In no time you will be synced with your Google Reader or adding feeds from the catalog. SR is also quite customizable in which feeds it shows (all, unread, starred…), how it opens the full article (original, instapaper, Google mobile or Safari) and what size the text is.
RSS feeds are often abject disappointments when it comes to aesthetics, but Slide Reader is more along the recent trend of similar readers (Pulse, Flipboard…) that focus on presentation. The themes especially give the feel of making it your own and are quite effective in combating plainness.
The multiple ‘slides’ of content from different sources allows you to quickly view headlines by type rather than the linear way most feeds are outlined. Orientation also plays an important role as there are three different ways that the accelerometer affects the way the feeds are outlined versus the usual two. The standard portrait view presents the feeds as slides, landscape presents the feeds as slides with a more ‘linear’ feed of all of the most recent content on the right and then finally, viewing in portrait with the home button on the top just lists it in linear fashion with the most recent content.
Whether they like it or not, Slide Reader is in competition with readers such as Pulse and Flipboard and these apps not only include RSS feeds and Google integration, they include social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well. And while SR includes a more robust feature set and is almost an entirely different genre, it is hard to compete with such free aggregators that have gotten attention from mainstream media.
I also encountered some bug and crashing issues and while they were few, they were unfortunate and frustrating.
In the ‘instant news’ world we live in today, Slide Reader is an excellent choice that packs a ton of features and customization and will present your RSS feeds in a beautiful manner. However, in the world of free uber-popular apps like Pulse, Slide Reader probably needs to add social integration to really compete.