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Instapaper Launches on Android at a Whopping $2.99, Ugly Black Bar Legacy Menu Included


Familiar with Instapaper? It’s this ultra-popular iOS read it later type of app that apparently, some Android users have been begging for. Think of it as the most minimal app on the planet that allows you to catch up on articles you may have started earlier in the day, but would like to finish later. At $2.99 though, we are trying to figure out how the price is justified. Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is free and in my opinion, much more beautifully designed and with more features. Plus, I watched Instapaper’s developer the other day talk about design and being minimal, yet he couldn’t even code the legacy menu button out? That would be the awful looking black bar at the bottom of all of those screenshots.

To be fair, the app does function as advertised. It is minimal, but with just the right amount of features to allow it to get the job done. It’s up to you to decide if you want to pay that price.

Play Link ($2.99)


  • thehaggis

    Yep, I’ll stick with Pocket, beautiful app with great integration into mobile and desktop browsers.

  • Icehunter

    Um Google Reader? Favorite, and then you’re there.

  • Wouldn’t it be more minimal if he didn’t have the legacy menu button?

  • Destroythanet

    Is the black bar legacy menu a problem on any phone other than HTC’s One Series?

  • iNfAMOUS70702

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the android version of instapaper isn’t even made by Marco Arment but rather some other guy…anyway hopefully this app becomes as polished as its iOS counterpart

  • Isnt that legacy menu going to be needed with the S3?

  • I think something must be wrong with the One X, because this app has the Action Overflow ellipsis at the top, but it still has the legacy menu button at the bottom.

    Google Reader did this, too, in the earlier post about the menu button (Action Overflow ellipsis at the top and legacy menu at the bottom). However, on my Gnex, Reader does not display a legacy menu button in the software keys.

  • Levi Wilcox

    You should be hating on HTC for making a phone with hardware buttons instead of EVERY developer for not immediately supporting the newest 1% of active phones in use.

    • HTC was following Android’s guidelines. Developers should do the same.

      • Levi Wilcox

        They followed the part of the guidelines they wanted to and ignored the rest. Just like many developers. Seriously though. You can’t really expect every developer to drop everything and support such a small percentage of active devices.

        • They built a device with no menu button because that’s what the Android team said the future was and devs are ignoring it. And in 6 months, it might not be such a small percentage of users. I know these changes take time, but we are talking countless apps that haven’t been updated.

  • People on twitter and such are saying “told ya so, told ya Anroid users would complain about the price”… but for $2.99 why would i buy that app, when Pocket is much better at this stage on Android. With more features maybe it might be worth that price, but right now, why bother with it at all. And Android users are willing to pay for good, high quality apps at a reasonable price. I’m not going to buy it just cause it was on iOS.

    • I see absolutely zero reason to buy this over Pocket. It has nothing to do with cheap as iOS users will claim. Paying for an inferior product makes absolutely no sense on any level.

      • true. why not have all these “upcoming” features when the app launches, then charge $2.99, and leave it to the people to decide “free or pay”.

    • iNfAMOUS70702

      Instapaper on iOS absolutely wipes the floor with pocket..it’s not even a comparison between the 2…hopefully the android version gets all the same features as the app store version

  • ocdtrekkie

    Stop whining about the black bar. There’s no ugly black bar for 98% of people using Android. There’s the folks who are pre-ICS: 93% of us who actually have menu buttons to physically press, and are used to being able to do so. And then there’s the like 5% who have software buttons, and the menu is inconsequential.

    Stop reviewing with devices made by stupid companies, and you won’t have a problem.

    • Levi Wilcox

      Should be hating on HTC for putting hardware buttons on there rather than developers

      • ocdtrekkie

        Well. I like hardware buttons. I prefer them. But if you’re going to have hardware buttons, you should have a hardware solution for the legacy button too. If only a long-press or something.

        • Levi Wilcox

          I used to think that about keyboards too. But after using the Galaxy Nexus, there are just way too many benefits of software navigational keys over hardware buttons.

          • ocdtrekkie

            @Levi Wilcox I won’t give up on keyboards until they literally stop making them. I have both a Droid 3 and a Bionic. I prefer the Droid 3, because I can type three times faster on it.

          • Levi Wilcox

            The navigational keys go far beyond speed of use. For instance, what about rearranging them the way YOU want. You don’t have to rely on HTC, Moto and everyone else using the same sequence. When watching full screen video, there’s no need for the keys to be there so POOF they’re gone. Do the keys look a little large for your taste or rom? make them bigger/smaller! There’s so many reasons to go soft keys only yet manufacturers continue to use hardware buttons.

          • ocdtrekkie

            Half of those “features” are root-only.

          • Levi Wilcox

            In the current implementations that is true, however it doesn’t have to remain that way. They could easily bake that in to touchwiz, sense, blur etc.

  • Kellex, Are you really going to bitch about the black bar every time a new app comes out? You had to have known that this is the way it would be on these HTC phones. It was widely known before release that a big-ass waste of space button would come up on screen for apps that still use the menu button. Yeah it sucks but this is just poor design choice on HTC’s part. There are obviously better ways of handling this. If anyone has an issue with HTC’s implementation, they should not buy an HTC One series phone. Plain and simple. That’s the beauty of the android world though. There is competition and choice for users. If enough people vote with their wallets, you can bet HTC will make something with better button layout.

    • Just doing my part to make it known. Developers clearly don’t know that Android has moved away from the menu button. How else are they going to know unless people make it a public issue?

      • Good point but I think they hate should be directed at HTC. Not at developers.

        • Why HTC? They are following Android guidelines by removing the menu button. Android told developers 5+ months ago that the menu button was dying and to remove it from their apps.

          • Because compared to the implementation on the Galaxy Nexus, I think HTC made a poor choice. Dynamic on screen buttons are much more flexible than their static capacitive buttons. This is simply not a problem or concern to ICS users whose OEM chose on screen buttons.

          • I think it is a poor move by Google. If I want to remove that ugly bar I am required to use the default actionbar. What if I don’t like the default actionbar?

  • Droid4LifeDawg

    In the words of Peter Griffin “Oh wait, I don’t get it” I mean come on we have “Pocket” which does the same things and more it’s free now. We don’t need IOS hand me downs, to late – go away go away!

  • Tyler Gordon

    This wasn’t even developed by the creator of Instapaper; don’t blame him for the bar.

  • Matt Gondek

    Everytime I see that black bar, I look at my GNex and smile. But really, those need to go, just another way for the apple folk to cry fragmentation

  • TomMabe

    Terrible looking app and the price is a joke

  • Keith Mathews

    It also comes with a huge iphone sized icon, not that probably matters to anyone else.

  • moozicmon

    I refuse to support this developer due his attitude toward the Android community. I’d advise you do the same.

    • Yeah, the interview I saw with him definitely didn’t give me the impression that he cares of Android at all.

      • palomosan

        Yep, after hating on Android now he wants people to pay him 2.99 for a beta app, now way.

      • Droid4LifeDawg

        He doesn’t it’s all about the dollars, but for the life of me I really can’t see anyone from Droid Life paying for it, Pockets better and Free.

      • Inquizitor

        On a brighter note, was that interview On The Verge? If so, that same show had an interview with Damon Lindelof, who’s awesome! But yeah Arment was a big douche. Approaching Gruber-levels.

    • xxdesmus

      Agreed. He clearly doesn’t care much about the Android community…he’s only looking to make a few bucks after running out of iPhone users.