PM Live Today app review: Ugandan content the audio away

PM Live Today app review

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The makers of PM Live Today app want this app to be your go-to news audio app, so they have wrapped in it the best coverage on latest news, updates&current events. You are guaranteed to stay hooked whether you are jogging, driving, in a taxi or even winding down your Sunday evening and that is why they have brought their on demand audio content on mobile to ensure that you enjoy it any time, anywhere.  First of all, we think it makes perfect sense that they released and Android app first since the target audience excluding those in the diaspora are hooked onto this mobile Operating system. I will have to admit, when I first saw this app in the Google Play Store I was a bit skeptical on how they would pull this off since most of the PM Live content is audio which directly translates to high affinity for data. Will the 21 MB download size app feel as much as the amount of data you are likely to spend on it? Let’s find out in this PM Live Today app review.

Before we go into the hullabaloo of the User Interface and all, lets first understand what this app is all about. In a nutshell, the PM Live Today app offers everything that a keen news listener is looking for – latest headlines, trending stories, breaking news, in-depth coverage of national politics, arts and culture, science and technology, entertainment, business and much more. With On-demand audio content of the latest local Ugandan news and instant access to the latest news and headlines, the app strives to ensure that you never miss a headline. With social being the in-thing of late, the makers of the app want you to tell the story as well by using it to share interesting stories or the entire news digest with your friends with the obvious social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Personally, am not a fan of push notifications since I already have gazillion of those, but the app will notify you once new stories come in, plus they have incorporated four different styles for each page and application User Interface.

The makers of the app claim that it has been optimized for slow internet and geese, right they were. Of course don’t expect miracles if you use the app on a 354 kbps 2G EDGE network. I would highly recommend a 3G or 4G LTE connection for a better listening a viewing experience. In full disclosure PM Live app is made by one of our affiliate media houses Wizarts Media, but a review is always a review and that’s where I will stop at that.

20% Material Design

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Opening Page, Daily Page and Stories
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This is what the main page looks like. Its clean with daily breaking news  and feature stories both in audio format. The transition graphics are a bit ropey as you can’t tell if the wait is due to the app trying to pull down the story for you to read or its by design, but my money is on the former. My main gripe about the app when I first saw the UI is that it lacks the basic concepts of Google’s latest Material design elements. May be I can say its 20% Material Design. Google introduced Material design two years ago as a guideline for Android developers to make their app feel and look like Android. Yes, that’s what happens when the team at Techjaja reviews your app, we tear it down and neat-pick on even the smallest of issues. The app feels more like an Android 4.0 Kitkat App than Lollipop (5.0) or Marshmallow (6.0).  It misses the material navigation drawer; that slides from the left to expose more options like settings to control the several elements like push notifications and the clearly misplaced design elements in the app. We are not saying that every Material designed app should have a Navigation drawer, but surely this app would use one.

The PM Live Today  app doesn’t feel up-to-date and modern the developers should borrow a leaf from the Makers of the Yoza app. Now that’s what we call Material design on steroids. Plus, the developer of the app should read this next one carefully, at 21 MB that’s a bit too much for an app in comparison to a Podcast app like Pockect Cast, which is 6.3 MB and BBC News app is 11.48 MB and yet both apps seem to be more busy on the eye plus more content loaded, am sure you get the gist. This being a version 1.01 there is plenty to excuse, but a few iterations down the road, there will be less to pardon. Leaving alone our neat-picking, the app does what its meant to do. Give you the latest Ugandan news and insights.

On top, there is a search option and the three-dot menu button that brings up the Refresh and About options. Slide sideways from left to right on the screen, you will find four featured Stories and if you want more episodes, the app lets you load more in increments of four. Swiping further to the left is a Weekly digest of the biggest On-demand audio stories and finally, there is something they are calling Themes, not to be confused with your phone’s color changing themes. Themes puts all the news stories in different categories. The existing categories include; Agriculture, Arts&Culture, Business&Economics, Environment&Energy, Health, Politics, Science&Technology, Youth&Society and Others. Now this is what we have been exactly, ranting about. We feel themes would have been a better candidate to occupy the missing Navigation drawer in the app if the developers followed the Material design rules. We feel it it is a bit misplaced in its current position.

Article page

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Weekly, Themes and Articles Page

On the Article’s page you will see the main audio and excerpt of what the story is all about. If only there would be an option to swipe left to get to another story without me going back to the main menu.  At the bottom of every article, there is an option that allows you to share to any platform as the developers used Android’s incredible APIs to allow you share to whatever sharing capable app you have installed on your phone.

User Experience

In my 4 days of using the PM Live Today app I have one strong recommendation for users. Just like any other News streaming music and TV apps we’ve reviewed here before, if possible always hook onto a WiFi connection to spare your data plan. Although with such great local content, a few MBs won’t kill you especially given that you are getting the content for free. Wizarts Media has come out of the dark ages with this app and its a breathe of fresh air in Uganda’s media apps. We also found that the audio takes more than a minute or even not play at all on a 4G-LTE connection. Which makes us wonder what the underlying issue could be, but once it starts playing, the audio quality is superb and second to none and this is exactly one of the reasons why we opted for this Media house for our podcasts.

In future versions, we would more welcome options to have users submit their own content including, pictures, audio and videos. We would also welcome the option of downloading the audio to local storage for later consumption. Although given that the content is hosted on SoundCloud that could be a tricky one but more or less a possibility. If you release an app and put it up for public review you must brace yourself for the harshest of comments from your audience. A must-download? Yes, but it certainly won’t be the be all and end all of news on your Android Phone. You can download the app here .