Umano, the app that reads the news to you, has been updated to version 4.0. There are several new features included, with two of the most interesting being a recommended feed of new content, and a subscription option. And in even better news, you can now subscribe to Digital Trends in Umano.
If you’ve never played with the Umano app, here’s what you’re missing: The app starts out a little like Flipboard, and lets you add channels to different feeds. This varies from curated collections on subjects like lifestyle or sports, to individual sites like Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and of course, Digital Trends.
With your home feed all set up, you can browse the articles listed and add which ones take your fancy to a playlist. Overall, it’s similar to many other news aggregators, but when you tap on an article it won’t bring up the text. Instead, one of Umano’s narrators reads the piece to you, and when they’re finished, it’s on to the next one. Each article has a link to the published piece, so the original is always there to read if you want, but the app completely removes the need to do so.
If you’re wondering who’s doing the reading, it’s not Siri or another computer-generated voice, but a whole team of professional narrators at Umano. They all sounded good during our tests, although many have that distinctive “radio announcer” style, which some may find grating, but others may like. We never heard anything other than an American accent either (Editor’s Note: Andy is British). We can see where Umano could come in handy, such as in the car, or for a more personalized podcasting alternative.
The Umano app is free to download and if you’re happy with the basic functions, there’s no need to spend anything at all. A set of in-app purchases come into play when you want to add new features. Paying up gives you the option to download your playlist along with the chance to have summarized headlines read to you. This costs $4 per month, or you can pay $24 for an entire year’s subscription.
Version 4.0 of the app has been given a visual overhaul, and now fits in perfectly with iOS 7’s style. Umano is also available for Android devices, where the minimalist look continues over. You can find Umano in the App Store and on Google Play right now.