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Awesome!!! Yes, that’s the one word to describe the experience on Windows Phone Mango OS and it gets more awesome today with launch of NextGen Reader v2. Yeah… it’s only for Mango, but hey don’t feel bad if you’re a NoDo user, as it seems the Mango update is imminent for all users worldwide. Hopefully it should be end of this month or early October.

In between we did pushed a final update for NoDo users (v1.17) last week, sorry no post on that but hope you all have updated, as it contains many improvements and bug fixes. Now, lets talk about the v2 update and do not miss the video at end.

NextGen Reader_9-18-2011_18.20.20.725

There are a lot of improvements, as you’ll see in the update notes (or check out “what’s new” content in about page) but lets just highlight few of them here:

  • Support for multiple live tiles. Yes, the most requested feature on WP7, live tiles display unread count on the front and recent articles on back side with back and forth flip animation.
  • Pin your favorite feeds/folders to home screen and directly jump to them for quick access along with live tile updates.
  • Smooth scrolling and support for multitasking aka fast application switching.
  • Improved content layout, image resizing and YouTube support, plus better rendering thanks to IE9.
  • Share your articles using inbuilt phone accounts and can also add secondary accounts within the application.
  • New settings page and icons for mark read or keep unread button in article view.
  • New system default theme option, and system tray is now visible at top.
  • Tap and hold on an article to see context menus for quick action.
  • Many more enhancements and over 15 bug fixes.

I hope you enjoy the update and don’t forget about ad-free trial option. For more information, subscribe to our blog for future updates, like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter (@ngreader) if you like.

Last but not least, We’d like to thank all the beta testers for sending tons of feedback and helping us in fixing issues, it wouldn’t have been possible without all your support.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvOAuAH-Cmw&w=448&h=252&hd=1]

Hi, there’s a lot happening in the mobile world with patent war going nuclear, recent heavy announcement of Google buying Motorola Mobility and a shocking news about HP to shut down WebOS development. All this points to one good thing that Windows Phone is deemed for commercial success and we wanted to let you know that NextGen Reader v1.15 update is now available in marketplace with many new features and enhancements. Please find more about Mango update at the end of this post but first, let’s jump into v1.15 features, shall we? :-)

  • Share to Facebook – yes by popular demand the Facebook sharing is now available, including the one tap update feature to share same on twitter and windows live.
  • Subscriptions in alphabetical order – many of you’ve asked about where are all of my feeds, earlier ngreader displayed only feeds which had unread articles but now you can see all of your feeds/folder on main page with a unique experience to switch between unread or all items.
  • "all items" or "unread only" toggle mode now using application bar button you can switch between different modes whether inside a folder or feed or at main list. It will toggle between:

unread only modeall items mode

    • display all feeds or only unread feeds. ngreader_1.15
    • display all articles or only unread articles.
  • New experience in "unread only" mode:
    • auto hide articles when marked as read.
    • auto hide feeds or folder with no unread articles.
    • auto back to top-level list.
  • Sync any feed or folder– yes it’s possible too with latest update.
    • navigate to desired feed or folder.
    • press sync button to download new items.
  • Improved automatic loading of new items when sync completes – now you don’t have to tap again to load new items when the sync is complete unless of course you’re in edit mode or still reading old articles.
  • Option to lock screen to portrait mode.
  • Increased limit for starred and shared items.
  • More responsive star button in article view – improved hit area and negative margins for touch detection.
  • Fixed image resizing in mango build 7712 – thanks to IE9!
  • Improved layout in landscape mode.
  • & many bug fixes.

We hope you enjoy the update, do give it a try. Download the trial version (free) which has no ads or limitations except twitter support. As always I’m continuously working & open for feedback, thanks to everyone in making this possible especially all beta testers.

About Mango Release

Now, let’s talk about Mango, I guess many of you’ve seen the press and amazing reactions of media on Mango beta release but let me share one thing – all you’ve seen so far is part-1 of the story, part-2 will begin shortly when developers began to embrace the new functionality underneath.

We’re working hard on Mango version and it’s COMING SOON! But we need help from your side in deciding on launch of mango version, any feedback on this is most welcomed.

As per MS update policy for mango apps – once we submit Mango version to marketplace, NoDo version of the app cannot receive any further updates. Please note that it’s similar to how Apple iPhone supports updates. Since, we’ve seen in the past that NoDo update took long time mostly due to issues with carriers but even if the update process is improved, we can still expect a minimum transition period of two months before every WP7 handset in the world is updated to Mango.

So, the problem is if something changes on the services side e.g. Google, Facebook, Twitter etc…, it won’t be possible to update NoDo version of app which we don’t want you to face. We can think of a temporary solution which is:

  • To launch a separate free Mango version of NextGen Reader for transition period.
  • and once majority of users update their phone, we can update the NoDo version to Mango and kill the temporary version.

Of course, this has two problems:

  • How to update all users about the separate version of app for Mango?
  • Temporary spamming of marketplace.

Please let us know if you’ve better ideas….

Cheers & if you like the app show us some love on FaceBook page.

Today we’re excited to announce that NextGen Reader v1.14 is now available in marketplace.

Again I didn’t catch up with all of you here as often as I anticipated, [ last blogged about v1.11] so I’ll use this post to explain all the new features added till version 1.14. Before I begin, many of you may also know that Microsoft have announced a really cool feature for developers – “Private Beta” which lets us distribute the beta version of app through marketplace. Thanks to everyone who’ve participated in the first beta and I’m going to publish another beta very soon, so if any of you is interested and didn’t participated in first beta, then please send your live ID associated with windows phone to “ngreader [at] live.com”. Let’s talk about the updates now:

Blog1

  • New Tile: Thanks to Matt Grey for his excellent contribution on new logo. The new tile is designed keeping in mind the future enhancements for Mango as well as Live tile support.
  • Performance improvements: As always, max. performance with minimum battery utilization has been top goal for ngreader. You’ll notice faster startup and sync times from version 1.12.
  • Background Sync: Starting with v1.12, the sync happens in background so that you can browse through existing feeds or even read articles if you sync large number of items.
  • YouTube support: As many of you’ve asked for this feature, it’s finally available in ngreader. You can directly watch the video or open the link in browser to see related videos. I hope you enjoy this feature and do let me know if you come across any issues.
  • Improved scrolling: In v1.14, you’ll find scrolling is more reactive for NoDo users and if you’re running Mango beta then it’s really smooth just like native apps.
  • Improved article rendering: I’ve done few minor changes for better layout and reading experience. Also, a new update is coming soon for mango build 7712 with better resizing algorithm for images.

Blog2

  • Social networks: New share to windows live option in addition to twitter support. Also, Facebook support is coming in next release.
  • Improved Sharing: You can share status to multiple networks with just one tap. URL or link shortener is enabled by default and some small improvements like you can customize the text easily before sharing.
  • And also fixed few bug fixes!

I hope you enjoy the update – do give it a try! The trial version is free of ads and no limitations with just one exception of sharing via twitter. As usual I’ve been busy working on the next version of application and if you’ve some cool ideas for Mango release, then please do share with us.

Keep the feedback coming and also don’t forget to share your live ID for preview of next release.

Cheers!

– NG (http://twitter.com/ngreader)

Hello friends, the new update (v1.11) is now available in marketplace, and if you’ve some extra time then do check out my thoughts on windows 8 and tablets in previous post.

First of all I’m really thankful to the users who’ve send me tons of feedback including crash reports which have helped me tremendously in improving the application. I hope they enjoy the update and I will keep on adding more important features in future as well.

Please find the details for next update below and hopefully it should be available in marketplace now or before you finish reading the post :)

Here’s the update summary: (followed by some screen-shots as well)

#) Improved edit mode:

  • selecting and marking multiple items as read/star/share is even more fast and quicker.
  • improved touch sensitivity while selecting an item i.e. tapping on left side.
  • improved scrolling and tilt effect.

#) Improved mobilized view:

  • full screen for reading article.
  • set default mobilizer from settings->ui tab.
  • google mobilizer with no images option.

#) future updates will preserve the user settings.

#) maintain aspect ratio while resizing images.

#) fixed multiple crashes and bugs.

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As always, I’m continuously working on the application, so please feel free to send us feedback or features – you would like to see in NG Reader.

Cheers!

Related articles

So, a lot has happened over the last few weeks!

  • Starting with Windows Phone 7 “Mango” announcement on May 24th, followed by a peek into Windows future i.e. “Windows 8” and last but not least iOS5 announcement recently. Check out the video below if you missed it:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p92QfWOw88I]

Well, till today I hold the special feeling that WP7 is a different kind of phone and the “Mango” announcement has made me feel even more strong along with Nokia+Skype combination, Windows Phone will be a massive hit in the future. Looking at the iOS5 details, I too feel flattered and agree with @joebelfiore (design head of WP7), that Apple has taken lot of stuff from WP7 (Android as well), and baked into iOS5 smartly. But the thing that impresses me is, “Apple” responded greatly to the competition and finally iOS in it’s 5th incarnation packs a lot of desired features that Apple fans would have wished for years.

Seriously speaking, WP7 is still playing a catch-up game and Microsoft needs to catch up at a faster pace to win the smartphone battle but I’ve no doubts that they have the best foundation with WP7, and the complete focus on end-user experience.

Moving to tablets now, which is my favorite topic these days and is supposed to come up if you’re chatting with me. So, I’ve been waiting longtime for “Windows 8” announcement, because it’s a different approach to what Apple and Google have done, that is not building a phone OS first and turning into a tablet OS later. Till today I don’t feel, people buy tablets to replace their notebooks, simple reason is – it’s not productive or the other way around tablet is meant only for portable, comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Yes, they could replace the PC for few who just live on one side of the world i.e. consuming information like browsing, reading, music/video but otherwise it’s a – one more important addition to your gadget life (i.e. smartphone, tablet and a notebook).

However, fast forward few years from here and I could see tablets being part of massive convergence where you’ll have a hybrid device which can replace the trivia of tablet, netbook/notebook and PC. Yes, everything! Don’t agree, look at ASUS Eee Pad Transformer today, it is a tablet-come-netbook duo for some, but the overall experience is just not there yet. Lets take the standard tablet hardware today – it’s a dual core processor with 1 GB RAM and may be 64/128MB graphics. In around one to one and half-year from now, we’ll have quad-core processors with 2GB RAM and 256MB graphics in same price range , so it would match the speeds of what a decent netbook has today! So by the time, “Windows 8” comes out next year, the devices will be capable of running a full-fledged desktop OS.

But more important is the tablet side of Windows 8. I expected Metro UI to overtake this role, so it was no surprise as a windows phone developer & its a great joy to see that really happening on Windows 8. And we all know how good Metro interface is with live tiles for tablet computing. So, there you go, its “Microsoft” who can really build a powerful duo device that can turn into a tablet with it’s immersive Metro UI experience while you’re on the go and when you stop simply dock it to have the worlds most powerful desktop OS at your service.

Moreover, there is no more need for your tablet and notebook to be in sync if it becomes one hybrid device. I bet you’ll save lots of money by not having to sync and download data from cloud to different devices.

However, saying all this is easy, but there are good number of challenges that Microsoft needs to solve for everything to fall in place. And they are doing that by first supporting ARM architecture as well, which is huge in itself as we move to SOC world (System-on-a-chip). Nevertheless, it’s possible OF COURSE! I could maybe talk of some challenges in future… , but now I need to get back to NG Reader.

Catch you soon here to share details on NextGen Reader v1.11

Hello/Hola/Hallo to my English, Spanish and German friends and rest of the world.

First a huge thanks to everyone for the continuous feedback and helping us make NextGen Reader one of the best apps on WP7 platform. Personally I’m very excited about NGReader v1.10 as it brings a good deal of new functionality since we launched the application back in January. I know… I’ve taken a bit longer than usual update cycle since v1.9 but for future updates I’ll try to come up with a shorter three weeks cycle i.e. two weeks of development + one week for testing.

Okay, let’s get going and summarize the major changes/features in 10th update:

  • improved performance and battery life with up to 25% less memory utilization.
  • increased feed quota to 1000 articles.
  • new application theme with teal color.
  • new toast messages for various notifications e.g. sent to instapaper, read it later.
  • hold feed title to show quick toolbar in article view & single tap to resize images.
  • fixed multiple crashes seen during refresh or using back button to return to application.
  • many other changes and bug fixes.

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You can also check the below post by Rahul Mathur (@weemundo) :-

http://www.wpsauce.com/2011/05/preview-of-upcoming-v11-update-of.html

As always you’re welcomed to send us more feedback on ngreader(at)live.com or @ngreader on twitter.

One last thing before I finish the post – “NextGen Reader is still a work in progress and long distance away from the experience I’ve in my mind for a perfect news reader client”. I hope … I’ll manage to solve this problem one day and create a wonderful seamless experience for everyone till then bye-bye…!

Cheers!

NG Reader

Hello there, it’s been long since I posted about v1.6 release and been busy developing and fixing NextGen Reader. Thanks to everyone for the response and continuous feedback which helps and motivate me to make @ngreader best RSS Reader for WP7.

Alright, so this week has been fantastic with details on Mango update revealed by Microsoft. I’m so excited and can’t wait for it to happen. With 1500 new API’s added I think WP7 has a great future ahead. Coming back to my app, now I’ll make sure that I blog more often at least whenever NextGen Reader gets updated. My last post was on version 1.6, since then NextGen Reader has been updated twice and today we have released v1.9. Let’s talk about this update first and the new features coming in future.

NextGen Reader v1.9 change log:
——————————————————–
– improved article view with published time and author name details.
– links within article now displayed in phone theme color.
– “read all” button to display checkboxes with all items selected.
– new mobilized view with toggle switch.
– fixed crashes and other bugs.

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One of the important things about NextGen Reader is to be most productive client for Google reader. In version 1.9, I have made an important difference where “read all” action will show checkboxes just like official wp7 email app but with all items selected. This change brings many advantages for various scenarios mentioned below:

1. First of all, marking all as read requires only two taps as previously you would press “read all” appbar button and then select “yes” on message box confirmation. Now you have to press appbar button, it will select all items and display checkboxes. Tap again on first appbar button to mark them as read.

2. If you have marked all items as read by mistake then it’s easy to mark all as unread, since you can now easily select all items and then choose “keep unread” from the appbar menu.

3. Let’s say you’ve ten items in list and wanted to mark nine as read and keep one unread. First press appbar button to show all items selected with checkboxes, now tap on an item to de-select it and then simply press “mark read” appbar button to mark remaining items as read. Doing same thing earlier would have required twice the number of taps.

Another important change is new full screen reading view with toggle switch at top to enable/disable InstaPaper mobilizer. Also I’ve added smooth animations in article view when moving to next or previous article just like official wp7 email application.

Again thanks to those who have sent lots of feedback over the last month and it has helped us tremendously in improving the application.

Finally some sneak peak into NextGen Reader future: most important features coming to NextGen Reader in future updates are Live tile support, Youtube videos handling and increased article/feed quota limit. Apart from these, I’ve many other features in plan and will talk about them in future posts.

So please keep sending your feedback anyway you like – email, twitter or comments.

Cheers.

NextGen Reader v1.6 is now ready to roll in marketplace, actually it could have been available more sooner if I hadn’t come across the weird problem where “publish to marketplace” button doesn’t works from the “windows phone: my apps” list page. However a Google search later confirmed the problem: http://forums.create.msdn.com/forums/t/73198.aspx , and the simple workaround is to go to the application page first and then select the action to publish.

Now let’s quickly go through new features in this update:

  • Mobilizer: added instapaper mobilizer for quickly reading the complete article without having to leave the application.
  • Quick toolbar in article view – Increase or decrease font size and toggle image width to fit coloumn. (find out more in screenshot below)
  • New global setting to disable image width to fit coloumn.
  • Added support for Read It Later, in addition to existing InstaPaper support in app.
  • Improved download speeds while fetching articles.
  • and other bug fixes.

Toggle image width to fit column using quick toolbar is very useful if you happen to follow comic feeds, more important the setting remains effective in article view while you move to the next or previous item unless you go back to list view and select a new item, where it will restore your global preference.

Below are few screenshots showing some important features of NextGen Reader, and a video of NGReader v1.5 at the end.

1 2

4 5

6 7

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWfWwlgyvq8&w=448&h=336&hd=1]

I am really excited as the NextGen Reader update v1.5 is available in the marketplace.

Not-a-long-history, NG Reader was released on 22-Jan and since then it has been updated five times which means on average it’s been updated every six days. Not that I feel good about pushing updates so fast, but I was overwhelmed with so much positive feedback and number of feature requests; in addition to fixing some crash issues.

Okay let’s go through major changes for the update version 1.4 and 1.5:

  • The brand new tile and UI gives app a beautiful visual experience.
  • “Sync changes only” feature: Being an offline reader, NG Reader allows you to mark items as read, add stars or share articles at anytime. The important thing is NG Reader will smartly sync the changes in background at specified interval, but if you don’t have network available, it won’t complain or drain your battery. However, when you launch the application next time and do “sync/refresh”, it will update your changes to server and then download new items.
  • Fixed crashes, more stable and improved performance.

But many a time, I felt the need to just sync changes and not to download new items, since I was moving to Google web reader or another application on my PC or Tablet.

So with NG Reader, now you have the ability to sync only changes and not fetch any new items, before moving to your PC or Tablet. It’s very simple but again very useful feature.

See the NextGen Reader v1.5 highlights in below video:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBcVpilAlN8&w=448&h=336&hd=1]

On Frequent Updates: I don’t like to push frequent updates, unless until there is a critical bug. The fact that great user experience comes from thoughtful design & clear thinking and so do in our case, I desire of NG Reader to always provide a great experience with simplicity and performance.

Also I really appreciate the feedback in any possible way, so do tweet us or write an email about the features you want or discuss new ideas on our group. Find the contact points below:

Twitter: @ngreader

Email: ngreader at live.com

Forum: http://groups.google.com/group/ngreader

Thanks

-NG

I am excited to tell that NextGen Reader v1.2 is now available in marketplace. Below is a quick summary on changes followed by detailed description on back button design.

  • Completely integrated hardware back button. (no separate back button on application bar)
  • Change theme within application. (set light theme in application while keeping dark theme in OS)
  • Improved UI and enhanced performance.

    More ways to connect: I have created a new Google group to discuss about new features or change existing ones or report bugs. The group will help us in tracking similar requests as well as the different opinions.

    Please join the group here: http://groups.google.com/group/ngreader

Back Button Philosophy:

Since NextGen Reader release; which was just ten days ago, I have received lot of feedback around the use of hardware back button and a separate back button on application bar. The design followed the approach where if you select any feed or folder and later wanted to go back you will have to use back button on application bar and whereas for leaving the application use the hardware back button. The design was based upon the WP7 guidelines that the hardware back button should be used only for navigation between pages or dismissing any popup’s. However there can be exceptions to above rule as well. But due to multiple reasons and for the first release, I decided to follow the guidelines strictly to pass the app certification without any problems.

However the feedback received indicated clearly that back button was a common issue and resulted in poor experience for many users. Thus i decided to fix it immediately and the good news –> update is available now as i am writing this post. In fact during the update submission, I gave a detailed description about the scenario in testing notes so that application passes the certification successfully.

TIP for WP7 developers: I would like to share this as a tip for other developer’s on WP7 platform, that they should make good use of “testing notes” field available during submission whenever you are doubtful about a feature or feel that the tester might not understand the scenario completely. This way you have good chances of passing the certification rather than having to re-submit the application.

I am sure that the new update will make the experience top-notch for existing users and easy for those who install the application first time.

Cheers

– NGReader