A few weeks back we told you about a fun Japanese photo app called Kawaiit which helps you rank cute photos. That app was the brainchild of Tokyo-based Jig.jp, a company that is increasingly looking to audiences abroad for its smartphone services. It’s latest offering, a mobile news reader application called Kawara, is launching today, now available as a free download for iOS. According to the announcement, the app’s name comes from the word Kawaraban, a newspaper from Japan’s Edo Period.
The app is pretty simple to use, with preferences that allow you to specify which region’s news you’d like to read. Available regions include Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the UK, and the US. The language of the news updates you read is dependent on this selection .
Once you choose your locale, you can further customize by arranging sections (Sports, Business, Entertainment, Technology, etc.) to suit your preference.
Regrettably, the customization appears to end there. This is not an RSS reader, so you can’t input your own sources, nor is it a social service like Gunosy. But for a casual news reader it looks perfectly fine. There is a very handy autoplay function that you can trigger simply by setting your device in landscape mode . In this way, it does make a nice little desktop companion to place alongside your regular work area.
Other interesting features include the ability to expand or contract the size of news update panels shown on your screen, as well as a clip feature that lets you flag certain articles for easy access later. Social sharing is also built into Kawara.
Overall, it’s a very simple but useful reader application. And if you need something to keep you updated at your desk-side while you work, it’s not a bad addition to your iPhone or iPad.
I’m not certain where the content is coming from, but it appears to be Google News. I’ve inquired with Jig.jp and will update if I hear more details. Update: It is. ↩
This autoplay feature is one that I really enjoyed in the Trickle Twitter app before it got all crashy and unusable. But I wish more Twitter apps and news readers would implement this. ↩