offline no-keyboard rss reader?

So… I’m in the market for a way to read RSS feeds offline, with no keyboard; i.e., some sort of tablet or kindle-like device. Ideally it should be cheap and reliable (reliable in the sense that I can pick it up every morning while still groggy, take it to a concrete bunker with no wifi, and fully expect that I will have 45-60 minutes worth of reading on it- something should download feeds overnight without me thinking much about it after initial setup. ) Other features (ebooks, app stores, what have you) are a plus but not necessary. Ideally would sync with Google Reader, but am willing to compromise on that check here.

Options I’m looking at right now:

  • wifi-only ipad + reeder: $499+$5. Biggest downside: Apple. Also size: not sure that my intended use case will really work well with the weight of the iPad.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab + google reader app: $599 + free. Downsides: $100 more than ipad + 3″ less screen + OS everyone admits is not ready for tablets. Will make me less likely to buy an actually good 2nd gen Android tablet. Upside: Google Reader app looks solid; Android is (relatively) the Good Guys in this OS battle.
  • nook ($149/$249) or kindle ($139): would be ideal-ish (less weight, more readability), except I don’t see any great rss reading options. Any suggestions on that?

Are there other options I’m missing? Less popular/more hackable e-reader devices? Other tools?

Some things that aren’t options:

  • phone: I read a lot on my phone already, I don’t want to add to that and screw up my eyes even more.
  • instapaper -> (kindle|ipad): instapaper is slick, but to go through a lot of feeds quickly, not a handful of lovingly pre-selected content slowly.

Thanks in advance, oh broad intarwebs…

22 thoughts on “offline no-keyboard rss reader?”

  1. Really, the issue is timing at the moment. Theoretically, there is a new version of the iPad coming in Q1 or Q2 of next year. Gingerbread (Android) should be out sometime next year with a bunch more tablet options. Additionally there may be some Chrome OS tablets in Q3.

    The problem with the iPad and the Galaxy is that they are both first generation products. I think by May/June at the latest you should have a good idea what the sweet spot is and I think it will be much better than the current set of options. The only issue is if you can wait that long.

  2. I would recommend getting a nook, and installing the open-source calibre. It is like Rhythmbox (or iTunes, if you prefer) for books, but also has options to download RSS feeds and sync them to said nook. I don’t use that option myself, but from my experience with other aspects of both the nook and calibre, I would be surprised if this isn’t (at least mostly) what you are looking for.

  3. […] () { $('.boxy').boxy(); }); like_show('283378', 0); Niger Luis Villa » Blog Posts offline no-keyboard rss reader? 2 hours ago So… I’m in the market for a way to read RSS feeds offline, with no […]

  4. Typing this on a Nook color: highly recommended. If you can find an Android app that will suck down your feeds and you’re willing to go through the process of sideloading apps it should work great.

    Btw, the dolphin browser works fine on it too, so my thanks to you guys at Mozilla: -)

  5. Coincidentally, also typing this on a Nook Color! High fives to Conrad.

    But, yes, with about an hour of work, (rooting, installing another launcher, etc.) This guy makes a pretty mean little tablet for under $300. Newsrob works a treat, as long as you use Google Reader anyway, and can be set to sync and cache articles anywhere from once a day to once an hour.

    Also, the LCD on it is an IPS display, and rivals the iPad’s. Seriously. It’s my new favorite way to read comics. (And do just about everything else, right now. Definitely still in the honeymoon phase, but I don’t see it ending soon.)

  6. I got a Kindle as a gift about a month ago and will also chime in on calibre. I use calibre to build a customized NYT, News+Observer, and LifeHacker (from feeds) every morning. Which it emails to my Kindle, to be picked up the next time I turn the wifi on.

    You’ll love calibre. Open Source, with a typically horrible UI (for an open source program) :-) It’s updated ALL THE TIME, which gets a bit annoying when you’re setting it up the first few days.

    I’m a tough to please customer, and pretty much hate both the inputs and software on the Kindle. Horrifying, really. Kindle works best for linear stuff, like your typical book. Because the you just need to use the back/forward buttons. Anything else is pure hell – Kindle’s horrifying lists and menus, and the gawdawful input buttons. To navigate through a blog involves using the little up/down/left/right ‘thing’, which pretty terrible. But I soldier on …

  7. Hello, look at NewsRob. Even the free variant brought me efficiency in reading rss feeds. The commercial version adds staredarticles all the time in your pocket. Its for android.


  8. I picked up the Viewsonic G-Tablet which runs pretty sophisticated hardware for about ~$400 (got mine black friday for $380).

    Since it runs Android though, it needs some work. I flashed a beta version of Cyanogenmod to get things usable and it works great for what you described (newsrob for automatic google reader downloads and instafetch for instapaper downloads).

  9. Harish Pillay’s family just got an Archos tablet, so I was looking up details and specs the other night. It’s probably not what you’re looking for, given that it’s pricey (~$500) and gets negative reviews for its (slow) processor and clunky on-screen keyboard, and you can get Android on other devices you’ve mentioned here, but it gets otherwise decent reviews and is an Android device with a fairly large screen so I thought it might be worth a mention so you know of its existence, just in case.

  10. I second the Nook Color and Calibre, use it currently and like it. It does a good job of downloading and syncing feeds to the NC. Rooting and using available Android readers would also be an option.

  11. Here in the UK, I’m finding Archos tablets available for much less than the Galaxy Tab. They come in several sizes, and, here in the UK, Amazon have the 5″ or 7″ models for less than £150.

    I don’t own one myself (yet), but it’s an Android 2.2 device (WIFI, not 3g) which should be up to RSS reading.

  12. Patrick: could you elaborate on “To navigate through a blog involves using the little up/down/left/right ‘thing’, which pretty terrible.” I would have assumed that when calibre imports the blog posts, you can just flip through them book-style? If you can’t do that, that’s… a pretty big blow to the calibre+ebook reader idea.

  13. If you can wait for a few weeks, Notion Ink’s Adam would be a good choice. Spring for the optional Pixel Qi display & you’ve got yourself a reading device that will last somewhere between an Ipad & a Kindle on a charge.Failing that the new color Nook is great but it doesn’t appear multi-touch…us but it’s cheap!

  14. I’m using my Samsung Galaxy S phone and official Google Reader app.

    It has a very readable screen and stays in my pocket. I found useless to carry with me too many devices. When I have my phone and my laptop I don’t need to carry with me other stuff.

  15. Luis,

    If you stop by my desk I can show you what calibre looks like on the kindle.

    But there’s also kindlefeeder which might be a nice experience as well, it’ll mail you RSS feeds.

    I know you don’t like the phone, but for sheer speed, the Google Reader app for android is fantastic if you enable using the volume keys to scroll through messages. So maybe the galaxy tab would be good in that regard.


    1. Thanks, Dave and everyone else, for the feedback. Given (1) the existence of calibre and (2) the cheapness of the kindle, my current plan is to do that until the next gen “real” tablets come out. Best case it is good enough; worst case I’ve got a nice ebook reader for vacations. :)

  16. I read stuff like that using Seamonkey and Fedora. The news/mail/rss reader will download all your stuff for local reading (twitter via rss, works). As for platform, whatever works for you, netbook, tablet, or that new Dell laptop with the flip-over screen to become a tablet.

    Good luck.

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