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Viigo review

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Viigo started out as an RSS reader, which is useful enough on the BlackBerry where the browser has only recently graduated to dealing with standard Web pages.

Version 3 (which is still a beta, despite being on App World) adds other useful information like weather, sports results, flight status, parcel tracking and financial information along with podcasts, social networks, ebooks and YouTube.

That means you can catch up with the news headlines, book a restaurant with OpenTable and buy tickets for a movie afterwards and check if you have enough money in the bank to cover an evening out and whether you need to bring an umbrella, all in the same place.

The interface is simple and streamlined; it’s essentially all lists that you click through, with multiple categories and as many ‘feeds’ as you want in each category. You get a good selection to start with, and not just techie sites, and there’s a huge library of feeds to choose from (Entertainment goes from Art and Bollywood to Magazine, Movies, Music and TV and there are another 18 top-level categories).

Plus you can add any feed – or even any Web page, or a search on Google, Yahoo! or Bing. If you use Google Reader, My Yahoo! or Bloglines you can take stories from there too. And you can set alerts so Viigo will let you know if a story on your favourite topic comes along. Unfortunately, you have to set these alerts for each channel individually and only for the news channels; we couldn’t find a way to add a ‘rain’ alert to the weather feed (and we couldn’t create a London weather news feed at all).

A dedicated app like WeatherEye or WorldMate Live beats Viigo for news and travel info, but a more general problem is while many channels cover the UK (weather, news, sport and politics for a start), some channels are very US-centric. Stock alerts expect you to be tracking a US stock exchange. Local information includes BBC traffic news for London, traffic news for New York and the Breaking News service that is worldwide, but carries far more US than European alerts.

The Pageonce service looks extremely useful (it aggregates bank accounts, credit cards, frequent flyer accounts, mobile phone bills, eBay, your Netflix queue and your utility bills, amongst others) but while it does include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, the only UK banks so far are Lloyds and HSBC, which means it isn’t worth the extra fee. The only option in the Deals channel is Gazaro, which only covers US and Canadian ecommerce sites.

You can add OpenTable links for lots of areas in the UK, but they’re arranged quite oddly (with London – South East listed next to Edinburgh). You can get film times for local cinemas across the UK, but when you click the link to buy tickets, that takes you to the front page of Fandango and you have to set your location and pick the film all over again.

The social network channel is also tiny at the moment; just Twitter, Friend Feed, Jaiku and Identi.ca. Given how much information Viigo already packs in, you can expect it to keep adding more content; but it’s already the best way to stay up to date with almost anything on your BlackBerry.

Viigo info

Ease of use:
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Platform: BlackBerry

Price: Free

Version: 3

Developer: Viigo

Website/Demo: Viigo website

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