Get Pocket (Read It Later)!
Pocket (Read It Later)
Formerly toting the well-known name of Read It Later, Pocket is the shiny new mobile app that enhances your reading experience on a smartphone. If you think reading is a bore, you're in for a treat with Pocket.
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The next frontier of mobile phones is actually an old one, still unconquered. It isn’t cameras or video streaming or screens the size of iPads. It’s reading.
If Google Books and iBooks are any indication, the big mobile players intend for their (relatively) tiny devices to be reading devices, whether it’s books, newspapers or casual internet browsing. The trouble is, reading on a phone is frustrating. Not all web sites have mobile versions, and even those that do can be difficult to read on a small, highly reflective touch screen.
Enter Pocket, which, by our estimation, just did Google and Apple a huge favor. This app is so good, it will make you believe that your phone is meant for reading. The basic idea is simple: If someone sends you a link, video or photo—or you come across one while browsing Twitter or Facebook—you can save it to Pocket or “Read It Later” (the former name of the app), though the app is clearly focused on articles, no matter the medium. If you want to save an article to read later, just store the stuff you want to see in your pocket.
A pretty cool idea, but not one that is in itself revolutionary. Pocket goes above and beyond from here, offering an unprecedented level of customization intended to do everything possible to make reading on your phone enjoyable. When you hop into Pocket and tap on an article, it will show up in one of three ways: through the article’s mobile site, through an “Article” view or through a “Web” view. The latter two are of the app’s own designs. You can choose which one you like best, or allow the app to choose for you (a deft idea considering the aforementioned problems with inconsistent article layouts for the web).
Once inside, there is a dizzying yet simple cascade of customization. In one touch, you can adjust screen brightness, text size and text justification (left or justified); choose between a “light,” “sepia” or “dark” scheme (useful for reading at different light levels); and even switch fonts. From our semi-trained font eye, they seem to be Times, Arial, Helvetica and Garamond, a mix of popular and legible fonts, whether you prefer your text serif or sans.
The point of all these potential tweaks? To make reading on your phone a pleasant experience, no matter what your preference or location. You can even turn on a feature that lets you scroll down an article with your volume keys, presumably to keep your greasy finger tips off of your touch screen reading surface. Even if you’re not putting articles in Pocket to read later, it’s worth tossing them in there for reading anyway. Why would you want to read them anywhere else?
Well, besides a computer screen. Thankfully, Pocket can also be installed on your web browser. Toss articles into your pocket to catch on a bigger screen later, or save them there from your computer to have with you on the run.
We see a lot of apps here at the Recapp, and this is one that we will definitely keep in our pockets.
Reviewed: May 31, 2012 | Nick Hurwitch