Android 30|30 - InstaFetch

Android 30|30 is a series on Tech & Coffee that aims to highlight 30 awesomely useful Android apps in way more than 30 days. Just click the app name in the heading below to be taken to the Android Market.

InstaFetch by ImmSoft

Recently, there has been a lot of talk regarding "read later" or "text-only reading" apps. This is mostly due to Readability launching their Android and iOS apps, but it warrants highlighting a great app that has been around for a long time. InstaFetch is an Instapaper app for Android. Unfortunately, there isn't an official Instapaper app for the Android platform at this time, but as someone who has used the service pretty much every single day of my life for the last 4 years, I can tell you that InstaFetch offers a great user experience.

Instapaper is a "read later" service that allows you to save links (via a bookmarklet in your desktop browser, the Share To menu in Android and tons of other ways) that you want to read sometime in the future. Where the service really shines, however, is in the feature that takes just the text (and a few pictures) from the article, and cuts out all of the 'crap' that you'd see if you were trying to read the article on the original source website.

You can see from the screenshot below, it becomes like reading website articles in an eBook format. It takes all the multiple pages, ads and other non-critical information that is displayed on the page, and removes them. Many people have heard of "distraction-free" writing applications for both desktop and mobile systems. I like to think of InstaPaper (and in turn, InstaFetch) as my distraction-free reading environment. As I scan stories throughout the day in my Google Reader RSS, I simply send those long-form stories that I want to read in the evenings to InstaPaper. When I'm home, or in line somewhere, I crank up InstaFetch on my phone and there's my articles in a wonderfully simple interface.

Why I like InstaFetch so much is pretty simple. It includes features that the official iOS InstaPaper offers, but that **no other** Android InstaPaper app can touch. It has folders support, which means that items I have moved to folders for longer-term retention are still available to me via the app. It also allows me to move articles into folders, which seems basic, but some other apps don't offer that. It has font and dark/light UI choices. I prefer to read on my mobile device with a black background and white text. This is both for eyestrain reduction and most importantly, battery life savings. The one feature that I have not used often (most likely due to my podcast addiction) is the Listen feature. InstaFetch will allow you to listen to the text of an article as the Android text-to-speech engine parses the text and reads it aloud. This is a really great feature, just not one that I have used a great deal. It even supports changing the pitch and speed of the voice, and supports using 3rd party voices that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. InstaFetch requires that you have an InstaPaper subscription, which is a whopping $1/month. For the ads that my eyes don't have to ignore alone, this is a great investment. _Edit: InstaFetch does not require an InstaPaper subscription, however, it is still a nice way to support the creator of the InstaPaper service/API that the InstaFetch app is making so great on Android._

I really believe that there are two kinds of people in the world when it comes to this stuff. Those that use InstaPaper, and those that don't. If you don't, you're either not consuming nearly as much content as those that are or, more likely, you're the bearer of the eyeballs that those ad companies are aiming to distract. Check out InstaPaper as a service and InstaFetch as a great Android app and see what its like to read with focus and efficiency.