The Google Play store is awash with various news-reading apps, and with the likes of Flipboard and Pocket dominating this sector, any new apps looking to make an impact in this area need to do something truly different to have any chance of being successful. The Umano app is without doubt trying something different, and offers one of the most experiences on the Play store today.
The basis of the app is a large news-magazine that allows you to pick and seek out news stories that you’re interested in. There’s a wide range of categories to choose from and each of them is regularly updated with the latest content in that sector. Each category in question has their own various news sources, with Umano favouring for more feature-based pieces instead of short news stories.
Certain categories have a limited amount of sources, but the app is continually looking to bring more on-board. There’s a distinct lack of short news stories, which probably don’t lend themselves well to the audio format, and the longer feature-based news pieces aren’t as hard hitting as they could be. With this in mind, you’ll probably want to use Umano alongside a more news-orientated app, such as the BBC or Sky news apps.
After discovering a story that interests you, instead of reading it through the app, Umano instead uses a voice actor to read the story out to you. At first it’s a slightly odd experience having the news read to you in this format, but for lengthy features it’s a great alternative. Voices are easy to understand, and stories are read at a steady pace. After listening to a story, you can add it to a playlist to save it for later, or even download it on to your device for offline listening. Each story also comes with a direct link to the website the story was published, if you want to read the story at the same time.
There’s also an extremely social side to the Umano app, and if you find a particular story you want to highlight to your friends there’s a wide range of choices available to you. The normal Bluetooth sharing is available, but you’ll also find Facebook and Twitter support, and the app even includes support for many third-party communication apps, such as WhatsApp and Viber. Due to the fact that each story is considerable in size, it can take a while for each story to send over, and the Facebook integration is hit-and-miss with certain stories.
There’s no denying that news apps can be extremely similar, but with Umano you get something entirely different. Having the news read to you directly can be a slightly odd experience at first, but the sheer inventive nature of the app has to be applauded, and in the end, you still get a top quality app that looks to move the news app genre in a totally new direction.