Fluent: ‘Google News’ for the iPhone?

There are already a ton of news sites and apps for the iPhone: AP, NY Times, USAToday, WSJ and so on. And of course there’s Yahoo! News and Google News. But a new site from Fluent Mobile could become the equivalent of Google News for the iPhone crowd — a go-to aggregator that makes reading news more convenient and comprehensive. Fluent only aggregates content that has been specifically optimized for the iPhone. It also “pre-fetches” news so that users can still read the content if there’s no Internet or cell connection. Here’s the release announcing the company and the app. If or when many of the source sites start charging it will be interesting to see what happens. The iPhone of course now makes it possible to charge a subscription within an app. This would presumably be a hand-off to a page that would command a payment to get to the article. How this free news aggregator, future paid hand off will work will be interesting to watch. In the old days online many newspaper sites required registration before getting to the article, which often caused consumer abandonment. (The Steven Brill cross-newspaper payment platform initiative might be useful here; pay once and get access to many sites.) Fluent News lets you move pretty seamlessly from the list of stories (with branded icons to convey sources quickly) to the publisher sites and back. It’s a good user experience and should gain adoption fairly quickly. Ads (by AdMob) are located at the bottom of pages, which become the middle of the page as one scrolls through the stories — improving their visibility. Here’s the Fluent News video demo.