Review of iPhone apps for Indian news

I like and use the iPhone apps for CNN, NYT and NPR news, but none of them are any good for staying up-to-date with happenings in India. So one day, out of curiosity, I started looking around for apps specifically for Indian news. Here’s what I found.

Summary: the NDTV app is probably one of the best free apps. I didn’t consider paid apps.

First, the usual suspects:

Times of India: The ToI app’s UI is functional, but otherwise not remarkable at a first glance. In true ToI tradition, the “Entertainment” section is feature prominently on the home page, just under top news. Of course, readers of ToI know that “Entertainment” and “Photos” are just euphemisms for soft porn — ToI happily parlays all kinds of NSFW material under the guise of “news”. I’m really curious to know how much of their app traffic (indeed, their website traffic) goes to the entertainment section.

The ToI App

Thankfully, buried under the “Settings”, the app allows reordering the various sections. You can also optionally specify a home city. I haven’t really used the Video section of the app, so can’t comment on it.

Overall, the app is not bad, but it can’t compensate for ToI’s reporting.

NDTV: The NDTV app feels only slightly more polished than the ToI app; structurally they’re quite similar and most differences are cosmetic. Unlike ToI though, NDTV’s Photos section is closer to what I’d expect on a news app (there’s still a heavy entertainment bias, of course).

But perhaps the most killer aspect of the NDTV app is that you can watch various channels of the NDTV group live!!

The NDTV App

The only downside of the NDTV app is that it shows a lot more ads than the other apps I looked at.

Hindustan Times: the HT app is probably not being actively developed — it still has a CWG section!! Other differentiators are a dedicated “Blogs” section. Compared to ToI and NDTV, this app offers basically no customization, no videos. The content is not as rich or fresh as the other apps.

The HT App

There were a lot of other news apps but none of them felt credible. The IBN Live app looked interesting but it seems to focus mostly on live TV and not news articles. For now, I’m sticking with the NDTV app.

What apps do you use to get your does of Indian news?



Leave a Reply