Robocat is known for making some amazing apps. Haze, Thermodo, and Televised to name a few. And Breaking, available for iOS and Mac, doesn’t fail to disappoint. The premise behind Breaking is simple: See news important to you with only a swipe. Any websites you want can be searched for and Breaking will automatically find its feed link and add it.
But Breaking isn’t your typical RSS app. Don’t expect it to be an alternative to services like Feedly or clients like Reeder. Breaking lives in the Today View of Notification Centre. Launching the app only allows you to add and delete an unlimited amount of feeds – though the widget only shows five articles at a time. Opening Notification Centre will allow Breaking to refresh. I found this took a bit of time, but all Widgets are slow, and I doubt there’s anything Robocat can do to help. Tapping an article will open it in Safari and dim the article’s text colour in the widget.
While the app is incredibly simple to use and quite convenient, it isn’t without its quirks. I found that searching for common websites like “The Verge” (which actually eventually worked), wouldn’t bring up any results. Either the app decides to add what was searched automatically to your list or it doesn’t. There’s no list of results to choose from. Adding feeds with a high volume of posts, like The Associated Press, isn’t very useful and they will dominate the limited space. I found it most effective to add a few local news sites and one or two technology blogs. This helps to keep a variety of sources in the widget.
Overall I found Breaking to be great in concept but at the end of the day – simple due to Notification Centre restrictions – it was a little hard for it to meet my expectations. Perhaps I’m just expecting too much of it and should accept it’s meant for a quick glance at breaking headlines. However, I also tried it out on the Mac (yes yes, I know – this is Cool *Smartphone*) and I found it to be a lot more useful. Unlike the five articles shown on iPhone, the Mac widget shows up to 20. Feeds are also automatically synced with iCloud over both devices.