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RSS Readers for the Palm

Published on December 10, 2005 in Palm

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a popular way for web publishers to send content and articles updates their readers. The compact nature of RSS makes it the perfect format for bringing information to Palm screens. Because of the many different types of Palm devices, and the way they are used, there is not one best RSS reader for usage on a Palm device. Some users will probably prefer to download the feeds to their devices for offline reading later, while other users may want to use their wifi connection to read their RSS feeds online.

Some of the best RSS readers for the Palm are described below.

http://avantgo.com/ – Free

AvantGo will allow you to view mobile RSS subscriptions either offline or online using a wireless enabled Palm. AvantGo is very simple to setup your RSS feeds and has a very good inteface for reading RSS news. If you already have the AvantGo software installed on your device another program installation is not necessary. In addition, AvantGo does not suffer from the awkard user interface that some Java based readers do. Disadvantges to AvantGo include no podcast support and a limit on the capacity downloaded for the free version. As RSS feeds take up little space this should not be a problem unless your AvantGo account is already almost full.

Note: There is another way to access AvantGo on your handheld that does not require the client to be installed. You can get access to AvantGo by hitting the site made for the Blackberry, http://rim.avantgo.com, from your Palm’s web browser. As an aside you can even use your desktop web browser to acess AvantGo this way. Outside of a few formatting and rendering issues these url works well.

Bloglines Mobile:
http://www.bloglines.com/mobile – Free

A disclaimer. I am a big Bloglines fan, and use it as my main aggregator for my desktop. The mobile version works well on a wireless device for several reasons.

1. Bloglines Mobile gives a single aggregating source. In English, it easily allows me to access my feeds and keeps my read states in sync across my Palm, and desktop/laptop computers.
2. Bloglines Mobile does not require an software to be installed on the Palm. If your Palm has a web browser, it will work on your device.
3. Bloglines allows you to choose which feeds, from your Blogines account, you want to show up on Bloglines Mobile.
4. Bloglines Mobile has a simple and consistent interface with very readable font.

The disadvantage to Bloglines is that is requires a constant connection. If you do not use the reqular version of Blogines and/or do not find the need to keep your feed read states in sync, one of the other choices on this list is probably a better alternative.

Plucker and Sunrise
http://www.plkr.org/ – Free
http://sourceforge.net/projects/sunrisexp – Free

Plucker is a free offline web and ebook viewer for the Palm. Sunrise is a Windows desktop applicaton that converts sites or RSS feeds to a format readable by Plucker. If you are just going to read RSS feeds offline the Sunrise/Plucker combination is the best choice. Plucker is fast, the conversions happen quickly, and the Plucker reader has by far the best user inteface.

The disadvantage of using Plucker/Sunrise is that it requires you to get the feeds through a sync with your desktop computer. Thus you will not be able to instantly see the latest updates to your RSS feeds.

Quick News
http://standalone.com/palmos/quick_news/ – Commerical

Quicknews is probably the most powerful RSS reader for the Palm. QuickNews offers several features that the other RSS readers do not, such as card storage for downloaded feeds, and podcast support in conjection with Pocket Tunes. In addition you can set it to get you updates at any time. However, it seems to be much slower to download articles than the other readers. Unless you need podcast support, one of the free alternatives is probably a better way to go. For most people AvantGo, Bloglines, and/or Plucker will be more than you ever need.

Other Readers
FeedBurner – http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/mfr – Free and Commerical
LiteFeeds – http://www.litefeeds.com – Free
Feedalot – http://mob.feedalot.com – Free

Feedburner and LiteFeeds both require the J2ME java runtime environment and thus suffer from the poor java user interface. They also both retrieve feeds rather quickly. Feedburner’s free version only allows you to use feeds hosted at feedburner.com and it doesn’t keep track of read articles between updates. Litefeeds does keep track of the articles you have already read but read articles get deleted. In addition RSS feeds are only update when the LiteFeeds crawler reads the feeds thus no instant feed updates. Feedalot offers both a web and mobile interface (similiar in idea to Bloglines). Feedalot also has a Firefox Extension to synchronize RSS feeds between Mozilla Firefox & Feedalot (Live Bookmarks).

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: 有涯小札 » links for 2005-12-27 on December 27, 2005
  2. Pingback: www.NewVentures.ca » What the Heck is RSS? on October 16, 2007


  1. Gabriel Lowe, December 15, 2005:

    Thanks for theis excellent article! The one question I have is in regards to keeping read status with your RSS feeds sync’d across computers/mobile devices. I understand how Bloglines lets you do this, but if I want to use something like Thunderbird, is there a way to keep that sync’d with my Treo, somewhat like IMAP email?

  2. alex_mathews, December 15, 2005:

    Did you consider looking at mRSS from MotionApps?

  3. ambimb, December 15, 2005:

    Don’t forget NewsMac. It’s a lot like the Plucker/Sunrise combo but for Mac users since Sunrise is Windows only. NewsMac requires iSilo on your Palm. More details here.

  4. sat rattan, September 30, 2006:

    I like to synchronize complete forum at my website with pda so that I can view forum offline on the pda. i am using phpBB 2.0.19 that does not have RSS capability.

  5. helpdeskdan, January 22, 2007:

    Sunrise is JAVA, as in “cross platform.” I’m using it just fine on Ubuntu Linux (little help from jpilot to install) and, given the correct Java version, you can use it just fine on Macintosh.

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Leslie Franke:[les-lee fran-key]; 1. Husband and proud dogowner; 2. Seventh-day Adventist; 3. Web Designer; 4. Atlanta Braves Fan; 5. Northeast Ohio Native; 6. Bottle Caps Lover; 7. Certified 'Freakonomic';