I’d like to start a new series on my blog of Android Apps I use regularly and that I love and can’t think of functioning without.
The first one I’d like to write about is Pocket.
Pocket was originally called “Read it Later” and was the first read later service I tried. It was not the last; I tried a special folder in my bookmarks, a read later tag on del.ici.ous, a read later tag in diigo, a folder of webclips in Evernote, and Instapaper.
I was using Instapaper as my “go to” read later app. I then got my Android phone and didn’t really have a good mobile app for reading things while on the go. It was about this time that Pocket came on the scene and I tried it out. It told me that I “already had an account on this service” and I found out it was a rebranded Read it Later. I installed it on my phone, copied my articles from Instapaper, and the rest is history.
I use it judiciously when I’m reading online on one of my computers. I’ll find long articles on Ars or Lifehacker or a great feminism post somewhere or whatever, and I click my “save to Pocket” button in Chrome and I have an awesomely formatted article on any browser that’s connected to the internet as well as my phone and my tablet. The awesomest thing? I don’t have to have network access to read the articles as they download to the device. This is both a great thing and a bad thing if you have limited space, but Pocket formats things mostly in plain text and removes the pictures, so you have a plain text reading experience.
I also use Pocket when I’m reading my RSS feeds in Feedly on my Nexus 7. I pick the “save to Pocket” option on things I think read better on a larger screen (lifehacker with comments, for example).
You can read in your browser, on your phone, and on your tablet. As long as your devices are connected to the internet, you can easily keep your place between devices. This is handy if you read something on the tablet, and then get pulled away and have to go out somewhere and then are waiting in line and then you read some more on your phone. You’ll keep your place so you don’t have to scroll to where you were. It’s a really handy app.
You can also “star” articles to read again or if you are compiling research for an article or something. Click the star on your article and it saves to the “starred” section of your Pocket account. It’s handy to keep track of your favorite articles.
I’ve set up IFTTT to take my starred articles and send them to a folder in Evernote so I can keep them for reading again.
Pocket is a brilliant app and works on Android, i-devices, your browsers (through an extension or bookmarklet) and various RSS readers and other apps. I give Pocket a hearty thumbs up and 5/5 penguins for its simplicity and usefulness.