In this electric age of information and news, with plenty of news sources bombarding people with big data like never seen before, news aggregator apps have become a common need for many of us looking to update themselves on the go.
These apps essentially combine news from variety of sources and bring them to the user at one place. Additionally, they may provide different customization options to the users to set their favorite topics, blogs and websites to get content from them directly on the home page of such news aggregator apps.
And the number of such apps has exponentially gone up in last two years — especially after that not-yet-dead like death of Google Feed reader and decline in the popularity of RSS feed readers. There have been many popular apps in this segment with Flipboard, Feedly, Dailyhunt being the all-time favourites. The number continues to increase with the new apps being introduced regularly with their own supposedly unique features claiming to provide better experience for the readers.
We came across a similar recently launched app called Hotify, an app which has already raised an angel round and comes in this rather cluttered segment of news feed readers. So how does Hotify fare against the competition with other similar apps? Let’s find out.
I use a couple of news apps regularly and if one would notice a common issue with using news aggregator apps on mobiles or smartphones especially during the initial use — immensely cluttered interface one is greeted with — asking to set up languages, sources, favorites , etc before one could actually see the news items. Hotify stands out on that front.
Hotify comes as a pleasant surprise with comparatively no hassles during startup without unnecessarily pressing for any user details or linking social accounts despite their availability. It directly shows what it is supposed to show, i.e,news stories from various categories with trending news for each category and breaking news at that moment.
There are 9 tabs namely Home, Technology, Business, Lifestyle, India, Entertainment, World, Sports and Gadgets where specific news related to each category can be found out individually. These tabs can be easily accessed individually with a left or right swipe on the screen.
A major feature of this app which sets it apart from others is the Web/Read (W/R), which appears when one clicks on a particular news story. Yep, you can take it as a feature borrowed from Safari’s similar ‘Reading Mode’ feature.
Enabling the web option directly opens the news story on the original website within the app itself. But the real experience of reading comes by enabling the Read feature through which one is taken to a clean interface highly ideal for reading without any distractions by eliminating unnecessary content from the original news site.
What’s Hot in Hotify
What strikes instantly with Hotify is the speed and surprisingly quite less time it takes to load, as compared to other similar apps. The load time is pleasantly minimal, whether you are opening a news story in the Web view or the Read View.
And in an age where UI/UX is everything about a product, Hotify does well by clipping off unecessary image clutters and displaying a simple to use interface which takes lesser time to load and is far more pleasant. The app is especially useful for people who are looking to just go through the top news about daily happenings without fretting too much about particular news websites, blogs, or categories.
What’s Not in Hotify
Now coming to the things we disliked or rather things where there is scope for improvement.
Surprisingly, one could say that Hotify’s strong points — as claimed by its developers — are themselves in a way contributing to the negatives. The app can be too simplistic for heavy or advanced users who like to follow and set particular blogs or websites for getting content. There are no such customization options to set particular categories or topics as your favorites — feature which has become a must these days.
Hotify claims to be using bit of an AI to detect your preferences and accordingly show you next stories to browse.In simpler words, Hotify wants to show relevant news items under the Home tab based upon your previous clicks on your last visit.
Now when there’s even slightest mention or use of AI, you got to make it sure its hits the right note, which unfortunately isn’t the case with Hotify. I did not find it up to the mark and feel it has a lot of scope for improvements.
Moreover, news sources are currently very limited and one would expect more number of sources (and better sources in fact) for a news aggregator app. Also missing is the ability to set some articles as favorites to read them or access them later despite connecting Facebook or any other social media account with the app.
Hotify is one of those news aggregator apps which carry a simple or I’d say a rather minimalistic interface — showing you news stories across major categories but from comparatively fewer websites. There’s nothing more to it than that. However, it does do the work assigned to it, with super efficiency.
We give Hotify a 3.3. So yes, people looking for an uncomplicated app to have a glance over the main news stories and read them on their device on a minimal interface can find the app immensely useful.
However, if you use news apps frequently to follow particular topics, trends, websites or blogs and are looking for some customization options, Hotify may disappoint you for the sheer lack of news sources and other advanced features which you may get in other popular news aggregator apps.