Another way to escape the Wall Street Journal‘s famous pay wall: Its new iPhone app, which is available for free on the iTunes app store.
We’ve played with the app for a few minutes, and it’s pretty good. Definitely worth the download if you care about business news.
In addition to what looks like the WSJ’s full content — otherwise hard to read on the iPhone, and not free — it also includes content from other Dow Jones sites like Barron’s and AllThingsD; WSJ audio; and video, which played well over our wi-fi connection.
One nice feature: It lets you “save” content for later, like when you’re not in cell network range, in the subway, or on a plane. It also seems to automatically store some content — like front-page and “markets” stories, which load first — to read offline. But you have to remember to launch it while you’re online to sync the day’s headlines before you go underground — a limitation of the iPhone, not the WSJ’s app.
A few gripes/suggestions:
- If a search field exists, it’s doing its best to hide from us.
- Oracle (ORCL) appears to be the launch advertiser. One suggestion: It would be much easier if the ad linked to a mobile-friendly Web page, and not Oracle’s full-blown homepage.
- It’d also be great if we could now subscribe to custom WSJ email alerts that boot up the iPhone app instead of the WSJ’s Web site when we click on the link.
- We’re happy with the text size, but some people might like larger type.
- The iPhone’s system-wide shortcut of tapping on the top of the window to scroll to the top of the article doesn’t seem to work. We’ve also accidentally scrolled side-to-side between articles a few times when we meant to scroll up-and-down within the article.
- It’s flaky sometimes. Every once in a while, an article doesn’t load and a strange string of numbers shows up in the title bar. This crashed the app once. And sometimes the app feels sluggish all-around.
But overall, a nice start. We’ll quickly put it into regular use with other iPhone news apps, such as Bloomberg, the AP, MLB At Bat, etc.
(Meanwhile, BlackBerry users have had access to a similar app — which we hear is excellent — since last summer.)