Thursday, May 14, 2015
EC Touch For AppRadio Says Goodbye To Facebook, Hello To NewsBlur
A few months ago, EC Touch for AppRadio developers announced that they would be dropping support for Facebook integration in their app. That day finally came this month but one service being dropped meant another service being added.
The new service is called NewsBlur, which is a text-to-voice app for breaking news articles from a wide range of sources. Here are some more details and my initial impressions of NewsBlur.
EC Touch for AppRadio, for those that aren't familiar with the app, is a Pioneer AppRadio Mode compatible iOS-only app that brings various third-party app features to a single interface. The features include, the ability to play YouTube videos, stream Spotify, SoundCloud, Web Radio, Maps etc.
Any Pioneer head unit capable of AppRadio Mode can use EC Touch. The latest update from developers, version 4.3, has added NewsBlur in one of the four corner tabs of the EC Touch homescreen. A few other improvements have also been added to the app.
EC Touch for AppRadio (version 4.3) - App Store description
- Facebook is gone so welcome to NewsBlur!
- Now you can follow your favorite blogs, newspapers and more. Thank to NewsBlur you can read all posts & articles and... you can listen to them with EC Touch Text To Speech. You can access with your NewsBlur account and if you don't have one, you can create one for free.
- Now EC Touch is compatible with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in standalone mode.
- We introduce some changes on homescreen. Home bars show a short preview of services. You can toggle play/pause without accessing player page. Read full text of twitter tweets, NewsBlur titles and weather forecast.
- Once again we remind you that AppRadio One also called AppRadio USB doesn't support ANY video services.
- Minor bugs fixed.
Link to download: EC Touch for AppRadio version 4.3 from the App Store.
Initial Impressions of NewsBlur integration in EC Touch
Although I never really used Facebook within EC Touch, many users may miss the integration with Facebook being dropped. NewsBlur has good potential though. I say potential because the service isn't perfect.
The way NewsBlur works is that you add news sources to your list and access news articles posted to that service. The issue I have is that NewsBlur will only read the title of a news article and a few words from the first paragraph. Often times, the first paragraph isn't descriptive enough to give you a true summary of the news article.
As far as integration into EC Touch goes, I haven't encountered any issues so far. Signing up for a new NewsBlur account was easy - just pick a username, password and enter your email. Adding news sources is simple too using text search.
The moment I read that NewsBlur was being added to EC Touch, it reminded me of Umano, one of the latest CarPlay compatible apps which reads out news article. Granted, Umano doesn't support sources like CNN for breaking news at the moment, but there are other good sources you can pick.
Umano works by reading full articles, and articles are usually read by recognizable narrators. NewsBlur uses a Siri-like voice assistant. But the addition of NewsBlur is a welcome change for EC Touch.
NewsBlur in EC Touch for AppRadio is worth checking out if you're an AppRadio Mode user.
Here are some additional screenshots of EC Touch and NewsBlur...
By AppRadioWorld at 1:46 PM