Material for iPhone, iPad review - Twitter following, Facebook Liked tailored news and features
Nicely formatted, Material for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad offers users the ability to create a simple magazine-like viewing experience based on who you follow on Twitter and 'Like' on Facebook. It uses a clever algorithm to analyse your social media activity and work out what you’re interested in. According to developers INQ, Material: "Uses a clever algorithm to analyse your social media activity and work out what you're into." Tailored to your social footprint then, Material produces content in two daily editions - morning and afternoon, grouped under generic headings including books, music, film, comedy, comics and software. Each section includes a selection of stories, from just a few to around 30 from a variety of sources. INQ note that once delivered, each edition can be read in offline mode, which makes sense when travelling.
Reading Material is a painless experience, simple and intuitive navigation and a layout and typeface that is easy on the eye makes light work of catching up and discovering content of interest. Articles you want to flag up can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, Mail and Messages or you can simply copy the link. Users can edit and delete, using the pencil tab, the list of selected content and search for additional content, including areas covered under one heading - various forms of music for instance. While chosen content is added in your next edition, the search function isn't ideal. A list of available sections to select from would make more sense and cut down on the guess work.
Unlike a dedicated RSS reader, Material delivers only a percentage of content even if you are a heavy user of Twitter and Facebook, which is fine for light browsing but lacks depth. The app also appears overly reliant on particular sources you might follow or Like. The book section, for instance, highlights 30 stories of interest, but almost half are taken from The Guardian newspaper website. The lack of variety is disappointing and despite the promise of new stories twice a day, some content appears slightly out of date.
For those who yearn to be constantly in the know, Material won't replace a dedicated RSS reader such as Reeder 2. That said, it's an attractive, simple way to read and share content, especially on the go, that with a little customisation really starts to shine.