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BBCRiver.com: A week on

So, I’ve been using Dave Winer’s www.bbcriver.com for just over a week now on the Blackberry.

I’ve talked to at least 50 people from around the mobile industry about it. Some have been thoroughly enthusiastic, others entirely dismissive. Both main perspectives acknowledged my right to use the service. In fact once I discuss the user model in a little more depth, most objections appear to be reduced to the ‘but its hardly new’ school of thought.

No, it’s not new per se. But show me a service offering a ‘live’ list of BBC news headlines, available immediately to my device, by typing a eight character domain name.

‘Ahhh but what about a news reader?’ They scream at me, ‘That’s what a news reader does!’

No it’s not. A news reader shows me titles that I can scroll down and click. It shows me headlines (and summaries depending on the software) from multiple feeds. They do an excellent job. I’ve been using MobileGlu for a while – does just that. Plus I have been checking out some Blackberry newsreaders. They do a brilliant job.

Newsreaders and news websites have their place. This is undeniable. However, when it comes to reading news on my mobile devices, I have a preference to also use the ‘river’ concept.

Sometimes I use a newsreader, sometims I visit the mobile web site of the content provider. But now and again, this is what I want:

1. I don’t want to login to anything
2. I don’t want to sync anything 3. I don’t want to click any links prior to commencing reading the news 4. I just want to visit a site (preferably after one click from my bookmarks) and be able to start reading what’s going on. 5. I want the headline and 2-3 lines of text – plus I want the link so I can dig deeper and read the whole article if I wish.

On the train today, I used a newsreader and read updates sent to me by email.

Waiting for a meeting, I checked out the BBC PDA site’s headlines (complete with nice pictures).

Sat in the Terminus Bar at Liverpool Street this afternoon, I scrolled through about 75% of the latest bbcriver.com headlines and clicked into two articles. I scrolled, because I wanted to keep one hand free whilst I ate some of their gorgeous chips and dipped them in their super BBQ sauce. I didn’t want a newspaper. I wanted the newspaper skimming experience in the form factor of the Blackberry – that’s exactly where bbcriver.com delivers.

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