Read It Later Makeover Includes Free Pocket Mobile App
By Mark Long / CIO Today. Updated April 17, 2012.
Read It Later changed its name to Pocket on Tuesday, even as the company launched a completely free refresh of its popular Web and mobile app content aggregation software for Macs and PCs as well as smartphones and media tablets.
"Pocket is the perfect name for our latest version as it expresses how simple it is to take any content users discover with them -- no matter where they go," said the San Francisco-based company's founder, Nate Weiner.
Despite the company and product name changes, the principal aim of Pocket remains the same: to enable fixed and mobile computing device users to capture pretty much anything they find online and save it in an organized way so that the content is ready to read -- no matter where the user may be.
"This product is about accessing content when there is no network connectivity or when you are not willing to pay for enough of it," said Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC.
Expanding Pocket's User Base
Pocket's free software for PCs and Mac machines consists of an extension that runs in the Web browser. Free mobile versions of the new Pocket app are also available from the Apple App Store, Google Play -- formerly known as Android Market -- or Amazon's Appstore for Android.
"Support for even more platforms is coming soon," Weiner said.
According to Weiner, 50 percent of the items currently being saved via Pocket are viewed on mobile screens -- up from 34 percent in January. Among other things, Pocket is designed to provide single-tap access to content delivered by more than 300 apps, including Flipboard, Twitter, Pulse and Zite.
The old paid version of the company's content aggregation app, known as Read It Later, has already attracted 4.5 million users. According to Weiner, Read It Later app has been saving nearly five items per second with respect to content gleaned from the Web -- including news, feature articles, videos, things to buy, travel tips and recipes.
When we asked Hilwa about the significance of the latest developments at Pocket, he said they were "clearly a sign that Pocket has reached critical mass in terms of the user base that it can begin to bring developers along with its user base."
Indeed, Pocket has begun offering other app developers a new API that will enable them to build free and paid mobile apps that can interact with Pocket in a variety of different ways.
"This is great for Web-accessible content, but since so much content is now exposed through apps on mobile platforms, there are now APIs available for developers to allow their clients to manage this content offline -- much like Web content," Hilwa explained.
Pocket's Design Refresh
The new Pocket app released Tuesday sports a streamlined user interface that makes it easier for users to categorize and access the Web content they elect to store.
"Our new visual list includes thumbnail images for your saved content, so it's easier to see what you've saved," Weiner wrote in a blog.
The refreshed offering has been retooled to take maximum advantage of the latest high-definition displays.
"We've created a lighter, cleaner and -- in our humble opinion -- more beautiful interface and full-screen reader view," Weiner said.
Pocket's design makeover also incorporates new filters that automatically detect video and image content to enable single-tap access. Additionally, users can now star favorite items and create their own custom tags as well as discover specific text content through the use of keyword searches.