Digg recently released their very own official iPhone application for all those dig loving smartphone users out there. A few days later, they also released their app for Android, which is great to see from such a big social news site, here’s what I thought of the Digg apps for both of the major mobile platforms…
As a Digg user myself, I found the iPhone version of the app to be really usable, and despite negative reviews in the App Store claiming that it was extremely prone to crashing often, it didn’t crash on me once in my testing, where I used it for a solid 30 minutes browsing through top stories and recent additions. Whether it’s as stable on other iPhone’s and iPod Touches I can’t say, but my experience was certainly a positive one.
The layout of the application is extremely simple. When you open it, you can choose between top, recent and upcoming stories at the bottom of the window. At the top of the screen you can narrow down your choices with the usual topics to choose from, ranging from technology to entertainment.
By default, you’re given stories from the whole of Digg, but the iPhone will remember your topic from when you last closed the app so that you don’t have to narrow down your topics each time you use it. You can search Digg for stories too, by selecting the magnifying glass in the top right hand corner of the screen.
When you select a headline that interests you, a preview of the post is given to you from within the app, so you don’t need leave to open the browser to carry on reading which is a big plus for people casually browsing through the highest Digged stories. The option bar at the bottom of the screen changes to show how many Diggs the post has received, and you can give it the thumbs up or thumbs down really conveniently.
Two great features of the Digg iPhone app are the ability to save a story that you’re currently reading. All you have to do is tap the folder icon in the bottom and the story will drop itself in there for you to read whenever you want. The other great feature of the app is the little icon in the bottom right hand corner, with which you can share the story on Facebook, Twitter or by Email. You can also choose to open it in Safari.
For the most part, the Android version of Digg is almost identical to the iPhone version, with a lot of the designs shared between the two platforms. The main difference in the UI is that the selection bar for the top, recent or upcoming stories is at the top of the screen rather than the bottom. On first sight, everything looks as good as the iPhone, but unfortunately there are some glaring omissions when compared to the iPhone equivalent.
The first of the rather long list of features left out is that there’s no folder in which to save stories anywhere to be seen. Similarly, you can’t share stories either which is a huge shame. Want to choose a certain topic? No can do I’m afraid, you’re stuck with Digg in its entirety for now. You can still view the comments on a story and give it the thumbs up or down, but it certainly feels as if the features missing from the Digg Android application make it a generally worse experience than on the iPhone.
Although having a Digg app is great, it would be great to see the features that are included in the iPhone version of the app make their way across to Android. If you’re an iPhone user, Digg couldn’t get much better on a mobile device, but Android users may need to hold back for a few updates before they can get their hands on those great extra features. If you want to download Digg, it’s on both the App Store and Android Market for free, so go try it out!