After years of watching the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg criticise software from other companies, now everyone gets to weigh in on his: The new AllThingsD iPhone app, which launched today.
AllThingsD is mostly a news commentary site, so this isn’t a complete replacement for a breaking news/wire app. (Of which there are many.) But it’s a good complement if you want timely opinion and analysis, or want to kill time watching Kara Swisher chase Silicon Valley execs around with her Flip cam.
Like the AllThingsD Web site, the app includes tech and media news from Swisher, our former colleague Peter Kafka, and John Paczkowski, and personal tech reviews from Mossberg and Katie Boehret. The app also includes videos — even videos from the D conferences. That means you can watch Steve Jobs and Bill Gates on stage together, or Palm’s Jeff Hawkins unveil the short-lived Foleo. They play right in the app; no need to exit to a separate video viewer.
AllThingsD is built on its writers’ personalities, so that’s how the stories are organised. (Each section labelled with an icon of the author, celebrating Walt’s goatee, Kara’s camcorder, and John’s eyebrow.) But that can be a little confusing if you’re looking for stories — say, about Apple or the iPhone — written by all the site’s authors.
That’s where the search tool — the magnifying glass on many screens — comes into play. But stories pulled down from search results are displayed a little differently, as an AllThingsD Web page. That requires a little more panning/zooming to read than the “latest” stories grouped by author, which are more optimised for the iPhone’s screen.
Otherwise, the app itself is clean and quick. It doesn’t lurch around like some other content-heavy apps. (It’s built on the NewsGator platform, and is basically a branded RSS reader/Web search engine.) And it includes some neat bonus features, like the ability to send an article from the app out on Twitter or Facebook.
While the Wall Street Journal is considering charging for its own app someday, the AllThingsD app is free. News Corp.’s (NWS) Wall Street Journal Digital Network will sell in-app ads. (Looks like small display ads for now. See the MarketWatch/Barron’s house ad in the screenshot above.)
An all-around good effort. And probably the sort of app we should think about getting for The Business Insider.