Distro (Free) by AOL, Inc. is Engadget’s new magazine app for the iPad. Taking each week’s tops stories and presenting them in a classic digital magazine style, Distro does not just aggregate news, nor does it require an in-app purchase.
Engadget is one of the more popular tech news websites around. They are well respected in the industry and have great feature stories on a regular basis. Distro takes those stories and packages them up for your reading pleasure. Each issue has seven or eight articles, mostly relating to a broad topic that is not going to seem stale if you read about it a week later. The stories are laid out to look like a magazine. It resembles a stripped down version of the digital periodical Project. There are no links to websites or in-app videos, but, like Project, each story page flows downward, while new articles can be accessed by swiping right or left.
There are already six downloadable issues within the app. New ones come out every Friday. Every issue is 100 percent free. You won’t be asked to pay an in-app subscription price. If you already subscribe to Engadget’s RSS feed and worry that this magazine will be redundant, there is something for you as well. Each issue includes an editor’s letter and a “last word” (usually a comic strip or other funny image). Additionally, the magazine can be viewed off line, so you can read it on the go.
Overall, this iPad only app is a must have for fans of Engadget or tech news in general. Each issue is laid out like a classic digital magazine and certainly looks a lot nicer than a weblog. The content is great and does not seem the least bit dated in this weekly format. It is free, so you have nothing to lose by trying it out.