I should perhaps say a few more words about Google Reader in order to convince you of its brilliance and consequently why I think you should be spending $1.99 on a piece of software to access it from your Windows Mobile device.
Out of the myriad RSS readers I've used over the years Google Reader is by far and away the best. It is one of these Ajax-y, Web 2.0-style web applications and it is a damned good example of the genre. You can access just by pointing pretty much any browser on any system to http://reader.google.com/
and logging in with a Google username and password (it is very easy to create a Google account if you are yet to have one).
You'll then be presented with a pretty blank browser window, you need to add your RSS feeds to it. You can either add them manually just by clicking the 'Add a subscription' button in the top left of the window and typing/pasting a feed url in there. If you are moving from a different RSS reader you can also import OPML files from other readers which will have the details of all your feeds. Simple, eh?
In the bottom-left pane in the window there is a link entitled 'Manage subscriptions' which will take you to a list of all your feeds and allow you to classify them into folders. A feed can live in more than one folder.
When it comes to reading the feeds themselves it is terribly easy. Once you've chosen a feed to read from the list of your feeds on the left of the window you can just sit back and press the space bar to scroll through the news items one page at a time. There are plenty more keyboard shotcuts for the mouse-haters. Clicking an article headline will open the full item in your browser. If there is a news item you want to refer back to you can assign a star to it and it'll remain in your 'Starred items' folder until you chose to un-star it. Google Reader includes a simple mechanism for sharing news items with your friends and you can click on little faces next to feed items to say you liked them.
One of its most powerful features is, perhaps unsurprisingly as it is a Google product, the search functionality. Google Reader keeps track of every item in every RSS feed you have ever read and it is simple to search all of these items. You may be looking for an item from a RSS feed you read over a year ago, but it is all stored and so if you know keywords to search for you'll find that old feed item.
My favourite feature? Your up-to-date and synchronised feeds are available anywhere you can find a browser. The information about what items in which feeds you have or have not read is stored centrally by Google, so whatever machine you use wherever you are you will have the most current state of your feed reading accessible. This is one of the major problems of having to use different RSS readers on different systems, they will not synchronise and switching to a different machine with a different RSS reader will have you re-reading posts or even missing some as the subscriptions might not be the same on each system.
Sounds like great stuff, eh? When I first used used it I was bowled over by its transparent functionality that was so easy to use. Google will own us all one day. Or at least all our data.
So, after all of this why use SpeeedReader
? Simply put, it is because Google does not want to play nice with Windows Mobile. The standard mobile view for Google Reader is hideous and very difficult to use on a small screen. If you had to rely on this interface for long you'd soon chuck Google Reader out.
Google are happy to give iPhone users a decent UI for Reader, but for we WM types it requires jiggery-pokery to access this. If you know how to edit the user agent of your browser so it pretends to be an iPhone running Safari then you could access the iPhone interface. This is pretty much what the now defunct Iris browser did, its user agent identified it as a webkit-based browser (like Safari) and so you'd get the better version of Reader. Since Iris has vanished and changing user agents is a drag at best and impossibly technical for some users we seem stuck.
. It is quite a small, simple, fast program which connects to Google and gathers your new RSS feed items from there. It tells Google which items you have and haven't read, so much like accessing Reader through a desktop browser, SpeeedReader keeps your feeds synchronised with no danger of having to re-read posts or miss out on some feeds because your subscriptions are different on different machines. It supports the full set of Google Reader features, so you can read your starred items or share posts with your followers on Google.
It does more. You can share RSS items via email, SMS and Twitter, the Twitter support extending to shrinking URLs. Additionally, it is possible to browse your feeds in a variety of ways. For example, you could access each feed item by navigating to the folder/tag where the items from the feed you want to read are just read that particular feed. If you just want to read all new items in one go, or all new items under a particular folder, you can just open up a reading list which shows a list of articles from the criteria you want to display, it could be all items or just those under the a particular category.
The options give you enough to modify about SpeeedReader's behaviour and appearance. For example, you can set the maximum number of articles to show in a page of a reading list, how many articles to pre-load and cache, where you want to put the cache (storage card or system memory), how big you want fonts, whether to connect to the internet when roaming and much more. All of these options are easy to access and change; indeed, 'easy' seems to be the theme of the SpeeedReader experience. It is very finger friendly and all its functions are transparently easy to access.
Google Reader is a brilliant piece of software which I cannot recommend highly enough; by using it your feeds are but an internet connection away. If you want to access Reader from your WM device and so have the ability to read your synchronised, current feeds anywhere with mobile phone coverage you should be spending that $1.99 and getting this really great piece of software.
That was rather long-winded, eh?