The Doppler Effect (Google Reader Meets iPhone)

Filed as Features on March 3, 2009 9:15 pm

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Important Note: This review is based upon Doppler 1.4.4.17, which has yet to receive Steve Jobs blessing. The current (approved) version is 1.4.1.

After appearing on the scene last year, the Doppler iPhone app has continued to refine itself over time, implementing features that may end up being duplicated by the competition.

Created by DopplerRadio, this iPhone app sports not only the basics (such as landscape mode, counter icon tag, the ability to star/favorite articles, etc.) but also a few extra items that I found lacking in some of its larger rivals.

Update (3/9): Feel free to check out the comparison link chart below.

The Good

Although some may consider this a cosmetic feature, one item I really enjoyed about Doppler was the ability to change the color scheme.

While most of the Google Reader apps are created with astetics in mind, Doppler goes one step further by giving users the option to select which color scheme (or theme) to choose, which may help keep reading through the app from becoming stale.

Another great feature about Doppler was the ability to choose which specific feeds to sync to their iPhone, a time saving feature that will please Google Reader addicts (who may only want to read certian blogs/news items while on the go).

Users can also choose to disable images loading within the individual feed item (which is very helpful for those viewing items NSFW).

One item I fell in love with was the ability to mark items as read or unread by hitting the “special K,” at the bottom of the feed (a feature I found missing in many a gReader app).

Last but not least users can also mark their feed, folders, or entire gReader subscribtion list as read (note: be careful with the last one!) by hitting the tiny check box at the bottom.

The Bad

Even though I loved many of the features of Doppler, my biggest gripe (if any) would have to be with the overall layout and a missing offline feature.

While I am glad I am no longer stuck with the “river of news” view that Doppler launched with initially, I did not enjoy seeing feeds listed individually on the app.

Although Doppler does support viewing feeds within folders, the list is grouped with the individual feeds and pushed down towards the buttom of the screen.

Another item that I found lacking was the inability to view images with feeds offline, a missing item that may not please bloggers traveling through “zero signal” regions (at least with At&t).

Final Verdict

Costing a mere 99 pennies, Doppler is a bargain, especially in this day and age of global recession. If a dollar is too much for you to spare, Doppler has a lite version (a trend hat I hope all premium apps will adopt).

While Doppler may not replace Byline as my main gReader app, I am definitely keeping this app as a backup as I (surprisingly) found Doppler to be faster at syncing my feeds on a weak EDGE signal (which bloggers stuck in the boonies will surely enjoy).

Update (3/9): Click on the link below to see a comparison of Doppler vs Byline (and the Google Reader Web App).

Doppler vs Byline (Google SpreadSheet)

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