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InstaFetch brings Instapaper to Android

Like most of us, I use my phone in a newsreading capacity quite often. Whether I’m looking through Google Reader or even browsing Droid-Life, I use my phone to keep up to date or to just kill some time when I have nothing else to do.

Instapaper makes that easier by stripping the formatting from sites that I want to save for later. The end result is a clean page that retains text-based formatting (like italics, bold and hyperlinks) while eliminating other annoying elements that may be obtrusive, like ads or sidebars. A third party has recently come out with an Android app, and I thought it might be a good idea to put it through its paces.    

Bookmarks are created by using a bookmark applet in your computer’s web browser, or the “Share” button in your Android browser. The app’s function is simple; you log in using your account details on Instapaper.com, and an API call syncs your saved sites to your phone. You can then read them while the app updates regularly so you can keep up to date. Articles can be sorted and favourited in-app, and that carries back over to your web-based account. Data is stored internally on your phone’s memory, or via SD card; however, if you installed your copy of the app when the SD card is unmounted, you must reinstall in order to change the settings. Doing some searching around reveals that InstaFetch sores a Database File (.db) in that folder; I’m unsure if that includes local copies of a user’s sites.

The Pro version allows you to switch to a darker “Night Mode”, read in fullscreen, and enable a wifi-only mode. By themselves, these don’t seem like features that I would pay money for: however, the real worth is in its added sync to Evernote. As a student who laments the death of Google Notebook and refuses to use Microsoft OneNote, I use Evernote a lot for my day-to-day writing. That additional functionality would be great, if Evernote didn’t already have their own (free) app.

What irks me is most is that the Pro version is listed as “free” in the marketplace; however, when you install it, it refuses your credentials until you buy it through the developer’s website. This is frustrating and off-putting to me.

In short, Instapaper is like the recently-deceased Delicious, only geared towards mobile devices. However, it seems a little bit too late: any site worth a damn probably has their own mobile version, and if you own a smartphone to begin with, you’re probably familiar with a little gesture called “pinch to zoom”.

Matt Demers is Droid Life’s Toronto-based app reviewer, and needs to stop hitting refresh on his Google Reader. You can follow/talk to him on Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    What I like best about Instapaper on the iPhone is the automatic page scrolling and flipping page turns with taps in the paid version. To scroll down you just tilt the page forward, to scroll up you tilt it back. As cool as this is (and you really have to see it to appreciate it), I like the tapping page method even better.To turn a page forward you just tap in the lower left of the screen. To go back, tap in the upper right. You can also swipe left and right. I wish all mobile apps worked this way. And of course you have to be able to increase the font size.

  • RgrLuke

    I really like NewsRob pro…. not really sure how this is any better / diff ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/5.second.minute Kit Tihonovich

    Speaking of mobile versions…
    Droid-Life…
    Come on now…
    We have ANDROID devices. These are like…fking…super computers for space men.
    And you constrict droid-life.com to a crappy little bar that goes up and down…without the ability to resize pictures…beautiful pictures of leaked devices and such…
    So annoying.
    We are modern beings with modern technology…we are not too stupid to pinch-&-zoom your “big-boy” website on our phones.
    Please either:
    FIX it…so the “switch” tab to go to the desktop version consistently works…
    [which, btw, looks awfully iphonesque…]
    Or remove the DEFAULT mobile version.

    Thanks =]

    Quick tip:
    I wish I could (with the default browser) switch to a desktop user agent permanently, but you can use the desktop version of any site by typing “about:config” into your browser and hitting enter.
    Then navigate to your browser settings and at the bottom…change the UA string to “desktop.”

    • Anonymous

      Wow #nicerant …. oops this isn’t twitter :P

  • JT

    Might give it a whirl. I’m a big fan of the Google Reader app. Only problem: FILTERING (so I don’t have to hear about crapple I don’t care about)!!! Google Reader needs this BADLY! Until then, I’ll welcome more articles about alternative reader apps. Cheers!

    • http://yobif.com Yobif

      You can try feedR

    • Chris

      There is a GreaseMonkey Script called “Google Reader Filter” that may do what you need.

  • Anonymous

    Everytime this is downloaded a paperboy loses a tip.

    First

    • Anonymous

      “Come back here fatass”

      • Anonymous

        Haha