CNET News app doesn’t measure up to already available mobile site

Aug 11, 2010
Tech

CNET has long had a mobile version of its site available to the public, and now the technology news site has launched an app for iPhone and iPod Touch to give mobile users even more features. One of the last tech sites to jump on the app bandwagon, CNET was hardly rushing to make CNET […]

CNET has long had a mobile version of its site available to the public, and now the technology news site has launched an app for iPhone and iPod Touch to give mobile users even more features. One of the last tech sites to jump on the app bandwagon, CNET was hardly rushing to make CNET News available, which is why it’s surprising that the app is such a mess.

From a misspelling in the horizontal category scroll bar – it’s Health Tech, not Heath Tech, guys – to directing users to a bad email address in the feedback section (it bounces back), CNET News is full of errors. Although sloppy, and, for a tech site, embarrassing, those are just little missteps. More egregious is the complete omission of one of CNET’s biggest draws, CNET TV, which is available through the mobile site. And, according to CNET, there are no plans to integrate video into CNET News as CBS Interactive is working on a separate CNET TV app. Considering the problems with the CNET News app, this should be an unpleasant thought for CNET fans. The app does not support fast-app switching, and you can’t read comments from other users.

If you still insist upon downloading this app after all that, you’ll probably enjoy the built-in Twitter tab, which features the Twitter feeds of CNET editors. You can connect via Twitter and choose to follow them, but I didn’t see options for any other interaction. CNET News only fully loads stories upon individual launch, so don’t count on being able to catch up on your tech news without an Internet connection unless you’ve opened all the stories once.

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CNET News’ search function was adequate, and I found the app design to be a pleasant user experience, but the app doesn’t measure up to what users should expect from an entity that deals entirely with technology.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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