The BlackBerry® News app is a great way to receive RSS feeds on a BlackBerry® smartphone. It’s in the top five of my most frequently used apps, and here’s a few reasons why: it allows you to easily share content with others, import Google® Reader Subscriptions, and integrate your RSS feed notifications within the Messages app.
Today I’m going to give you an introduction to this handy app and share some great tips you can take advantage of when using BlackBerry News.
Getting Started with BlackBerry News
If you don’t have the BlackBerry News app installed on your smartphone, open the BlackBerry App World™ storefront, press the menu key, select “Scan a Barcode” and scan the code below:
When you first launch BlackBerry News after installation, you will be prompted to enter your BlackBerry® ID. We’ve often talked about BlackBerry ID here on the Inside BlackBerry Help Blog; if you don’t have one, then you can get one at the BlackBerry ID Signup page. If you have one but can’t remember the password, check out our blog post on how to reset your BlackBerry ID password.
Also, I forgot to mention that one of the reasons why BlackBerry News is one of my most frequently-used apps is because we have a version for the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet as well. Both apps use BlackBerry ID, so provided that you use the same BlackBerry ID on both devices, all your feeds will be synchronized. Add a feed to one device and it’s on the other the next time you launch the app on the other device.
After you have entered your BlackBerry ID, you will be brought to the main screen of the app. If you have used BlackBerry News before, any feeds you previously added will be restored and updated automatically. If you are new to BlackBerry News, we’ll have to add some feeds to get you started. If you don’t have a specific feed in mind, don’t worry — we have lots of suggestions for you in the steps below.
1. From the BlackBerry News app Feeds tab, press the Menu key and select “Add Feed”
2. Enter a web address or search term for a specific RSS feed, or use the category options below the search box to select from a listing of available feeds
3. To subscribe to a feed, check the box to the right of its name.
Once you have selected a feed, you can then read its content. You’ll notice that different feeds will only display a snippet of text while others will show pictures and a few paragraphs. To view the content in its entirety if only a snippet is shown, simply select the full article button at the bottom of app (circled in red below).
When you select the full article button, the BlackBerry Browser will launch the webpage that contains the full article. Once you have read the article, you can easily get back to BlackBerry News by pressing the back button on your smartphone. The two apps work together so you can easily flow between the RSS feed and the full article.
Tip: Use the Application Switcher (press and hold the Menu key) to switch between the browser and BlackBerry News. The next article you open in the browser by selecting the full article button will be opened in a new browser tab, allowing you to have multiple articles open at once that you can review later.
You can also quickly share BlackBerry News content to BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) contacts, Twitter® and other messaging services by pressing the share button along the bottom (circled in blue below). You can easily navigate to the next or last article in the feed by pressing the left and right arrows.
Importing your RSS Feeds
You can also import your Google Reader Subscriptions into the BlackBerry News app. To do this, you need to have a Google Reader account, know the login information for your account, and have added subscriptions to the reader previously.
1. Press the Menu key and select “Add New Feed”
2. Press the Menu Key and select “Import Google Reader Subscriptions”
3. Enter your Google account information.
Your Google Reader subscriptions will now be imported and combined with any feeds that you have already added to the BlackBerry News app.
Customizing the BlackBerry News App
To access BlackBerry News app settings, press the Menu key and select “Options”.
The first setting to take note of is Auto Update Feeds; by default, this is set to “Yes”. This means that as long as you have a connection to a wireless network, your feeds will be refreshed at a set update interval (which is two hours by default). If you are on a limited data plan, you might want to only update feeds while connected to Wi-Fi®. If you change auto update to “No”, you can manually update all feeds at once by pressing the Menu key and selecting “Update all Feeds” from the RSS feeds tab, or each feed will automatically be updated as you open it to view new content.
Another setting you might want to adjust is the Maximum Articles per Feed; by default this is 20, but it can be set as high as 50. One thing to keep in mind is that the more content each feed displays at any given time, the more device memory is used for storage.
For information on each setting within options, take a look at the BlackBerry News app’s User Guide.