680News iPhone App Review
Rogers Communications, parent company of 680News, recently launched the new 680News iPhone app.
In the comfort of my bed this morning (because I wouldn't dare poke away at my mobile phone while driving, right?), I snagged the free app and gave it a whirl. My expectations going in were pretty low, and well... they were pretty much met.
The first screen I got was typical Rogers - a message telling me that I have to be a Rogers or Fido customer to use the app. Luckily (rrright) I'm in a long-term contract with Rogers, but still I had to back out, turn off my wi-fi connection (allowing my phone to connect to the Rogers 3G network), and restart the app so that Rogers could verify that I'm a customer. Brutal, closed digital rights management stuff here, folks... but not a surprise coming from big, bad telecom. Sorry, Bell iPhone users, you're going to have to get your 680news the old fashioned way - on the radio. Once verified, the app can then be used on wi-fi connections.
The app isn't exactly a championship sprinter on load, taking about 30 seconds to think before bringing me to the default news page. Here it displays the contents of the main news RSS at 680news.com.
The listen tab is probably the most useful one for the driver because it allows you to hop into the car and immediately listen to the most recent traffic report (as it is broadcast every ten minutes on the ones) - without having to wait and before pulling out onto the streets, but of course. Business types can also get truncated radio segments detailing trading numbers and such, or users can listen to the radio feed live (which may come in handy if driving outside of radio wave range, but within range of a 3G or Edge network signal).
We also get a handy weather tab that gives us pretty much all we need to know on one page, and access to both the MTO Compass and City of Toronto Rescu traffic cameras in and around the city. This is great if you have a passenger navigating the maps or clicking on your bookmarked camera views and trying to make out the situation ahead (the camera views are not always so clear. a problem that exists on all traffic apps using these same source video still feeds). I wouldn't want to be doing this while driving.
All screens have a bottom banner advertisement which isn't too intrusive.
Long story short, the 680News iPhone app serves its purpose. It may save me a few minutes here and there, but I'll continue to use other, more in-depth sources for my news. It's available on iTunes (direct link to app).
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