BBCReader from newwaytoseenews bears a passing resemblance to the NYTimes news app ( ) for the iPhone and iPod touch. Both apps have similar interfaces—the day’s top stories appear on the first screen, with headlines, short blurbs and small images scrolling down the left-hand side of the screen. Both apps are content-rich, with sections coving a broad spectrum of world news, health, technology, business and entertainment. And both apps are interminably slow to load.
That’s the trouble with being a large and influential global news provider: All of those stories can choke your bandwidth and bog down your device.
The stories in BBCReader load exactly as they would from the BBC Web site, complete with banners, left-hand navigation, and other sidebar matter. That works fine on an ordinary browser but tends to clutter an app made for viewing on a handheld a device. So, once a story opens, you must double-tap the screen to make the text readable. BBCReader displays type in two sizes: Microscopic or whatever fits on screen when you zoom in. It does not support a landscape mode.
BBCReader does offer a couple of nice features. The photo slideshow is a different way of viewing images than the Time’s page of icons. And a history button makes for easier browsing of stories you’ve already read but may wish to refer back to.
But, on the whole, BBCReader offers a second-rate way to read news from a first-rate media outlet.
The application is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.1 software update.
[Ben Boychuk is a freelance writer and columnist in Rialto, Calif.]