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Best Android news apps of 2011

by Marty Gabel

More and more news apps continue to hit the Android Market each month from both major international players and smaller, locally-focused sources. Whatever your perspective, there is likely to be a news app to suit your tastes. Here are some of the best Android news apps we came across in 2011.

CNN (Free)

With versions for both Android smartphones and Android tablets, CNN is a well-respected and reliable news source for U.S. and world news. Both theses apps took their time appearing on Android - and haven’t been without their issues - but recent updates have improved things. Both offer a wealth of content and CNN does stream live video of breaking news when its considered major enough. There’s also the ability to listen to CNN Radio and contribute to the popular “iReports” section, which offers on-the-ground reporting from citizen journalists everywhere — a growing trend in 2011.

Pulse News (Free)

When it comes to snazzy design, Pulse wins hands-down. It offers a unique way to consume the latest news, and is especially effective on Android tablets. Pulse organizes the headlines from various sources into small panels which can be organized as you see fit. Whether you just want to browse magazines or want to take in serious news outlets, Pulse is so customizable and makes exploring and discovering new sources easy and fun.

BBC News (Free)

BBC Worldwide finally got around to launching an official BBC news app for U.S. audiences in 2011 (there’s a separate app for UK-based Android users too). Though it lacks some of the video and live broadcast features that make the British version more complete, it’s still a great way to read up on news and sport from a reliable and trusted source. News sections are organized logically and the home page is easily personalized. For another great UK news source, check out the recently-released app from The Guardian, too.

Al Jazeera Live (Free)

The Middle Eastern news broadcaster should be applauded for offering free, streaming video 24-hours a day direct from its app, an example other media would be smart to follow. Alongside the Al Jazeera English app, it’s a refreshing take on world news and events from an international perspective, and its around-the-clock coverage of events means it’s often the only mobile app out there that’s reliably on top of major events as they happen, without having to pull up a web browser or turn on the TV.

Feedly (Free)

Feedly is a nice alternative to similar RSS readers/aggregators like Google Reader, and certainly less bland. It’s fast, simple to use and very effective at managing your news feeds, especially if you like to gather the headlines from a variety of sources. Reading stories within the app is great because you can switch background color, and the home screen widget means the latest stories are never more than a single-click away. Feedly also integrates well with social networking sites so you can share things very easily. Another app worth checking out with a fun, magazine-like format to increase readability is the recently-released Google Currents.