The Daily App: Winston -- He's Like Siri, But British
If you love how Siri tells you the weather, movie times and sports scores, give Winston a call. He's a voice app that'll read the news to you... in a British accent.
What's the App?
Winston, free on iOS, reads you personalized "newscasts," such as the time, weather and happenings in your digital world, all in a steady and posh accent. The twist is he reports not just headlines, but also social network feeds -- so if your sister just posted an album of your baby niece, he'll tell you about the photos.
To setup the app, just pick the types of stories you want him to tell you about, whether it's world, business, entertainment or fashion. Then, with great politeness, Winston asks for permission to use your location. You can then connect to Facebook and Twitter and let him keep you abreast of your friends' news.
It's very easy to customize, and the simple yet dynamic interface is a pleasure to look at and interact with. It's smooth and elegant as well: while Winston can stumble over slang, punctuation and strange words, in general he reads aloud beautifully. In addition, he'll add commentary like, "John's picture seems quite popular with your friends -- you may want to check it out."
That's right. Winston has personality.
You can make him talk faster or slower too, and you can turn background music on or off. There's even an option to add extra channels from popular websites and sources -- he'll read them all. My personal favorite: the Onion -- Winston's fancy accent adds a comic contrast to the already funny headlines.
You'll Want It If...
If you've ever wanted your own Alfred, but never could afford a Batcave, Winston will tap into that fantasy. He's a clever app that stays atop current events in news and social media -- ideal in situations where you can't look at your phone. If you drive, for example, you can get the day's report while keeping your eyes safely on the road.
The novelty of the British accent will tempt you to download it, but the usefulness will bring you back. Facebook integration is great, giving you a nice mix of personalized posts with your serious headlines.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
There are a few speed bumps, however. Winston gets confused by punctuation -- it reads accent marks aloud, for instance, instead of changing speech to accommodate them. In addition, while he can pick out what's important on Facebook, Twitter is hit or miss. He knows that sci-fi author William Gibson tweeted an article about "significant differences," but he fails to pick up on the story's essential focus on gender.
Overall, though, Winston is a lot of fun and a pleasure to use and developers will continue to add more channels and refine the app.
If you want to speed through the news, though, or just get to the main points -- without a British accent -- you'll prefer Clipped. The service boils down the news into bullet points. It's not as fun, but it gets the job done.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience and leave a comment below. ♦
Categories: News | The Daily App