Brit teenager's Summly news app storms up App Store charts

Brit teenager's Summly news app storms up App Store charts
Condensing the news for the mobile generation

A news summary app, developed by a 17-year-old Brit, leapt in to the App Store top ten just hours after it was launched.

The new Summly app, built by teenager Nick D'Aloisio, uses neat algorithms to condense trending news stories into one-screen summaries.

The iPhone app works on the premise that people do not have the time or the inclination to read full news articles on a mobile screen and would rather have the basic gist of a story, rather than skim headlines.

The 'painstakingly' developed algorithm means that despite all of the chopping, the story still translates into a readable summary, while users can still double-tapping the screen for a more detailed 'Summly'.

Mobile news is broken

The length of the Summly is also determined by the size of the iPhone model, so iPhone 5 users will see more text on their 4-inch screen than users of the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S.

"What we believed is news on the iPhone-sized screen is currently broken," D'Aloisio said.

"So people are just skim-reading the headlines and no one is actually standing in line or on the phone and going, 'I want to read this whole story,' scrolling through a 1,500-word article."

Big investment

Summly, which D'Aloisio took a year out of school to develop, has received over a million dollars in funding from the likes of actor Ashton Kutcher and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.

News Corp. is also on board after signing a deal to have the Wall Street Journal, The Times and other publications appear within the app.

This is the second version of Summly. D'Aloisio says the first version was a demo, but this new iteration is ready for the mass market. Judging by the initial flood of downloads, it looks like he may be right.

Via Huffington Post, Summly (iTunes)

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.