The brand new ABC News app for Android sure looks beautiful, but it could definitely use a little work in a few other departments.
The app delivers on providing users with the latest in breaking news and top stories from across the globe — and even takes things to a whole new level, with an inclusion of videos from local news outlets. Mind you, the app doesn't include all local stations, only ones in select cities — San Francisco; New York; Raleigh, N.C.; Philadelphia; Chicago, and Toledo, Ohio — to name just a few.
Unfortunately, it was a bit of a tossup when these videos would actually load and play. I do have to give ABC News some points, though, for having its own in-app video player. (You know, as opposed to booting you out to another service.)
Because of its simple, yet very classy, layout, finding your way around the app is a cake walk. At the top of the screen, you can scroll horizontally, either left or right, and choose from all of the categories — similar to how sections in a newspaper are divided: Top News, U.S., International, Entertainment, Health, Investigative, Politics, Money and Technology. With as much content as there usually is on a news app, it's important that stories are easy to find.
Users are able to modify an article's font sizes, from small to huge. There's nothing that can be done about the very tiny font used sporadically on ABC News' menu, though, which might make the app impractical for older or visually impaired Droid owners.
ABC News' biggest flaw, though, is that it's quite laggy, to the point where it's a chronic problem. Sometimes, the delay will only take a few seconds, but other times, the spinning “loading” icon is on the screen long enough to make me sigh and want to exit the application altogether. Two or three different times, the app shut down on me.
ABC News' developers could afford to make some improvements to the app. For a beta release, though, it's not the worst I've ever seen. Because of its sleek design, ease in use and the fact that this news organization has a good reputation, ABC News has the potential to become an accessible and popular application.