Flipboard is more than just a news reader

Previously available only for iOS, Flipboard has finally come to Google Play, bringing its magazine-style news reader powers to the rest of us.

If you're not familiar with Flipboard, it's a magazine-style news reader that has been wildly popular on iOS for quite some time. What gives it extra cool points is its ability to handle social media. See, Flipboard can integrate your social accounts into its feed, and present tweets or other status updates just as it would news stories or blog posts (complete with images and video thumbnails). Couple this with Flipboard's gorgeous tiled interface, and it's easy to see why the app is such a fan favorite.

With its clean design, vibrant display of photographic tiles, and smooth page-flipping animation, Flipboard for Android is just as stunning as its iOS sibling. This visual appeal has always been the hallmark of the app.

But Flipboard for Android isn't just a pretty face. Functionally, it packs a punch, too, as it lets you add feeds from a number of different social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. You can compose status updates from within Flipboard, as well as share, retweet, +1, and Like others' posts.

As with other news reader apps, you can also add feeds from pretty much any news source or site with an RSS feed, or you can subscribe to a Flipboard-curated topic feed. Also, if you use a bookmarking service like Instapaper, Pocket, or Readability, you can integrate those as well.

If you use Google Reader, you can load that up, too. However, Flipboard doesn't let you swipe through individual sources within your Google Reader account, which is disappointing. Meanwhile, another app in the category, Feedly, handles Google Reader beautifully, as it can two-way sync, and even mark items as read with a quick swipe.

One thing worth noting is that Flipboard for Android is not yet optimized for tablets. The image quality is less than stellar, and there's no use of the functional side panels that might otherwise grace a tablet-specific app.

Overall, I'm impressed with Flipboard for Android. Even with its few shortcomings, it's still a gorgeous reader with the flexibility to handle all of your social media. And if that's not enough, it comes with two different widgets, so you can access your Cover stories right from your home screen.

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