An Introduction to BlinkFeed

Maybe, like me, you’ve never actually seen HTC’s BlinkFeed in action. Or perhaps, for some reason, your next Android smartphone purchase rests entirely on BlinkFeed vs. Samsung’s Flipboard—sorry, My Magazine.

Whatever the case may be, here, as a public service, is a quick screenshot tour of yours truly getting acquainted with BlinkFeed on Sense 6.0, via my locked-to-Bell HTC One M8.

BlinkFeed is invoked just like Google Now on the KitKat Google Experience Launcher. It’s ready and waiting just to the left of your homescreen, and you get to it by swiping your thumb or finger to the right.

M8 BlinkFeed - Before

Here’s how BlinkFeed looks out of the box. If you’re using the built-in social media apps—that is, Facebook and/or Twitter—content from those streams will already be here. As you can see above, my personal calendar is listed as a content source as well. And thanks to the lousy weather here in Toronto, it looks like I might get to keep this M8 for one more day! (UPDATE: nope.)

M8 Add Content (1)

Back to the tour: Tap on “Get Started” and you’ll be brought to this screen…

M8 Add Content (2)

… Which continues down to here.

M8 Connect

I scrolled back to the top and selected “BlinkFeed Picks”, which brought me to this screen. Again, if you connect a social media account then whatever your friends are posting will be added to your stream.

M8 BlinkFeed Picks

And if you don’t connect a social media account then you get this. Hmm…

M8 Sources

I hit the back button a few times and manually added the topics you see above, all of which are curated by HTC—or rather Mobiles Republic, the company that takes care of this for them.

M8 BlinkFeed - After

And we’re done!

BlinkFeed seems as capable a news browser as Google Play Newsstand, the app I posted about last week. I should point out that it doesn’t necessarily replace Google Now; the latter can still be accessed by swiping up from your home button. So really, with HTC Sense you can have your cake and eat it too—BlinkFeed for news, Google Now for reminders and other more personal information. That’s a pretty good one-two punch.

Most of the tech bloggers I follow are so enamoured with Sense that they advise against the Google Play Edition of the M8. I’m inclined to agree; in my limited testing I’ve found that Sense adds more to stock Android than it distracts from it.

Too bad HTC probably won’t sell the Developer version in Canada. 🙁