India News for iPhone 3G – A Junk App

We’ve long believed that most Indian software developers are fit only for Coolie, repetitive tasks.

Ask them to develop a decent consumer or small business application and most of them fall flat on their face.

Those with long memories will remember that even the “great” Tata Consultancy Services failed to make much headway with the EX accounting application (Tally made mincemeat out of Ex).

So it was with great trepidation we purchased our first iPhone 3G application from Apple’s App Store – a 99-cent India News application.

After playing with the India News application from developed by Muthu Arumugam (originally from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu), our verdict on the app: A Pathetic Piece of Shit.

When you press the India News icon on the iPhone 3G, the application opens into the Headlines category of News.

In all, there are four navigation tabs at the bottom, Headlines, Business, Sports and More (opens into a dozen categories like Cricket, South Asia, Entertainment, Golf and a few others).

What’s Wrong with the India News application?

1. Selection of News is Horrible – A Korangu (monkey in the South Indian language of Tamil) would do a better job of picking the stories.
2. Plain Copy of Reuters India Stories – We checked four categories – Headlines, Business, Sports and Bollywood. Every single story was sourced from Reuters although the developer claims that India News provides latest news from various news feeds on a daily basis.
3. User Interface – Unappealing, Dull and Not Good

Let’s review our complaints in some depth:

1. Selection of News 

We’ll look at the Headlines section first.

Out of 10 headlines on Tuesday evening around 5:45PM, four had nothing to do with India.

The headlines link to a brief one-para summary, which can further be expanded into a full story from Reuters India that opens within the India News app.

The first two stories in the list (Torch comes to Beijing, security tightened and Fed holds U.S. interest rates steady) had nothing to do with India.

Is it too much to ask that at least the first two stories deal with India. Surely, so much is happening in a huge, diverse country like India that it should not be hard to find some good India-related stories for the top five links.

The fifth and sixth stories (Phelps has perfect platform to shine in Olympics and Pakistan’s coalition partners narrow differences) also had nothing to do with India and were unworthy of being in the Headlines category.

Further, there was no coverage of regional news at all and political news was indirectly represented in just one news item (Ban lifted on Indian Muslim group accused of bombings).

In contrast, the Times of India home page had a rich collection of Indian stories including Soon, NDA may open doors to women cadets and a touching human interest story about a baby - Conceived in Japan, abandoned in Jaipur.

Let’s review the Business category now.

Out of 10 stories, at least three had nothing to do with India. They were Fed holds steady, cites worries on growth, prices; U.S. STOCKS – Market Extends gains after Fed decision; and Central banks agree on cash, at odds over rates.

Although there was a link to U.S. market closing data (Dow Jones Index, S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite Index), there was no market closing data for India in the Business category. Ridiculous.

In the Business category too, all stories were sourced from Reuters only, not from diverse sources.

In the Sports category, all 10 stories were on the Olympics.

When you press the More tab at the bottom of the screen, it takes you to a bunch of categories similar to what you find on the left side of Reuters India – Categories like South Asia, World, Entertainment, Cricket, Technology, Health, Lifestyle and Oddly Enough.

There is also a Bollywood category in India News just like on Reuters India.

In the Bollywood category, some stories like Corporate Bollywood? Big B wanted it in 1995 were SIXTEEN days old. Another story Shilpa Shetty in India’s Big Brother was ELEVEN days old. Both stories were from Reuters again.

By the way, there were no stories on South Indian superstar Rajinikanth’s new movie Kuselan but there was a story on Shah Rukh Khan to quit smoking – report. It’s like the Nov 23, 1963 edition of a newspaper relegating JFK’s assassination to the inside pages of a newspaper and focusing on a Dallas motorbike accident report on Page.1.

As we said earlier, a Korangu would do a better job at picking better (comprehensive and multi-source) India-related stories than the moronic developers of this India News application.

Really Bad: In the three plus hours we played with this app, the Headlines category never updated the news even once.

2. Exclusively Reuters?
Of the 40 stories we examined from four categories Headlines, Business, Sports and Bollywood, all the stories were from Reuters. Are there not other news sources at all for India or is this developer a lazy bozo?

3. User Interface
Very drab and uninteresting. Some category headings like South Asia, Entertainment and Oddly Enough were in Blue color while the rest were in black. Why?

Unlike the Free Associated Press Mobile News Network iPhone application, India News does not have a search box or photograph section.

Also, unlike the Free Bloomberg business news/stocks application, there is no stock finder in India News.

Overall Verdict
All in all, India News is a pathetic piece of shit that we wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

You’d be better off just bookmarking the Reuters India web site on the iPhone.

Until we find a better application for India-related news, we’d recommend you stick with the following Free applications from Apple’s App Store – New York Times, AP and Bloomberg  or just bookmark your favorite Indian news site on the Safari browser on the iPhone 3G.

One Response to "India News for iPhone 3G – A Junk App"

  1. gandhiji   August 5, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    whoa! that was a vicious review.. i haven’t touched a iphone but still wanted to check out what a fellow villageboy from TN has done..

    so i went to the appstore searched for

    it is asking me “Did you mean”.. that was hilarious.

    That crazy/ballsy dude has his personal photographs on his website.. Responds:

    1. You write above: whoa! that was a vicious review.. i haven’t touched a iphone but still wanted to check out what a fellow villageboy from TN has done..

    It was an objective review based on several hours of using this app and other news apps on the iPhone 3G like Bloomberg, NYT and AP.

    2. You write: so i went to the appstore searched for it is asking me “Did you mean”.. that was hilarious.

    We got the same result when we searched on the URL you provided above. But we don’t think that’s the right place to search.

    When we searched on the App Store from the iPhone for, we got nothing. But as we were typing Muthu into the search box, App Store threw up two apps from this developer – India News and a freebie application called Upcoming that looks at your addressbook data and lists the birthdays of all your friends and family members.

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