Rio v2 : The Arc90 Mobile News Reader

Lab Project

If you’re like us, we share your pangs of envy at all the iPhoners out there spinning and zooming around web pages on the iPhone. We ain’t gonna deny it – it’s a sweet little device, but alas it seems as if just walking by a Sprint or Verizon store renews your contract these days.
Nonetheless, its our view (obviously slightly colored by our jealously issues) that nobody really wants to read a big, fat web page on a tiny screen. Truth is, the mobile reading experience is all about catching an article or two when we’ve got some down time outside of the home or office.

Rio v2 is our oh-so-humble attempt to deliver the most popular news sources on the Web right to your mobile phone. We’ve tested it on the Treo series, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and a host of mobile phones that allow you to surf the fatter web. It even looks great on Sony’s Playstation Portable Browser.

How Do I Use It?

To use Rio, simply point your mobile phone browser to: http://rio.arc90.com

From there you can type in the news source or topic that you’d like to read about or select one of the popular news sources in the list.

For example, typing “NFL news” into the search box returns Fox Sports latest NFL headlines. Or better yet, hone into a particular news source by including it in your search, e.g. “SI NFL” returns NFL headlines from Sports Illustrated. The potential news sources is virtually limitless. Here are some examples:

There are tons of other newspapers, web magazines and blogs out there that work really nicely with Rio. On Rio’s default page, we’ve included 50 of some of the most popular news sites out there.

If you do find an article you fancy while browsing results, simply select it on your phone and you’ll get a mobile-friendly stripped-down version of the article via Google’s mobile parser.

For Publications and Blogs : Instant Mobile View!

For publishers out there that haven’t had the time or inclination to deliver their headlines for mobile browsing, if you’ve already got an RSS 2.0 feed on your site, you’re pretty much done. Simply make available the following URL:

  • http://rio.arc90.com/?rss=<YOUR FEED URL HERE>

And you’re all set! You can even redirect users to the above link if your server “senses” the visitor is using a mobile device.

“Why’d You Bother Doing This?”

Because it’s really satisfying to come up with something cool within a tight set of constraints. We also wanted to spread the Internet Love to all mobile users equally out there.

We’d like to thank Dave Winer for sharing his River of News concept with the world and providing some of the inspiration behind this.

From within Arc90, Rio was developed by Joel Nagy with help from Amy Rosenthal in testing and seeking out the news sources. Great job guys! If you have any thoughts on Rio, feel free to leave comments on the Arc90 blog.

Oh and as for all you iPhone users, Rio works great on the iPhone as well.