OneIndia.in, the online mulit-lingual news portal now owned by Netcore, has launched a news app for Apple’s iOS platform supporting iPhone/iPod Touch devices. The application is multilingual, and  features content from the portal in five Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada. The app has been developed by Robosoft Technologies, and can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App Store.

Interface & Functionality

– Language Switch Button: It also features a language switch button, which interestingly denotes each language by the first letter of its alphabet. Clicking on the same instantly changes the default language. We tried choosing a language, and closed the app. On being restarted, the app remembered the last language-in-use.

– Standard iOS UI Design: The app follows the standard iOS UI design scheme, with a row of five buttons at the bottom, for switching between content listing sections such as Home, News, Cricket, Entertainment and More. The header houses a small stock update and cricket score ticker, very similar to the NDTV app, which has also been developed by Robosoft.

– Pull To Refresh: The News, Cricket and Entertainment sections feature a horizontal scroll bar at the top, for browsing sub-sections.The rest of the app features content headers in an orange colored background, which expand to full stories. The sections come with a ‘pull to refresh’ capability a.k.a the Twitter app.

– Social Sharing: The app allows users to share stories on Facebook, Twitter and via E-Mail, increase and decrease font size and bookmark them as favorites for future reading.

Content

Content is updated regularly from OneIndia’s websites and differs according to the language selected. Even sub-sections and content categories differ. For example, the English version’s Entertainment section features Bollywood, Hollywood, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam film news sub-sections, while the Hindi version’s Entertainment section features Bollywood, Hollywood, Hindi Film reviews and Gossip sections.

The News section of the Hindi version features sub-heads covering India, Sports, International, Features and other news, in addition to news from different states including Bihar, Rajasthan, MP, UP, Delhi and Haryana. OneIndia has leveraged local content well.

Issues:

– Language selection: After using the app, we felt that the vernacular implementation is incomplete, and even when a user selects an Indian language, sections like Cricket, Money and Astrology still display English language content. Also note that interface elements like buttons and menus feature only English text. So the Indian language implementation has only been extended to some content.

– Headlines: Although, when one selects English as the preferred language, the headlines look fine, the same can not be said about Indian languages, which at times renders in a font size too small for reading comfort. This might have to do with iOS’ rendering of the fonts.

– Location: Also, we were not able to figure out why the app uses the iPhone location services to detect the user’s location, when it does not use it.

The OneIndia app is a good start. However, we would like to see a better implimentation, extending the Indian language content to all sections.

(Nikhil adds: And…that peach background. Why?)