In addition to releasing some stats about its best-selling apps of 2013, Apple is shining a spotlight on a few apps that stood out from the pack this year—and it chose Circa as one of the best apps in the news category. Proving that this is no fluke, Circa was also chosen by Google as one of the best Android apps of the year.
Circa, which in an email to Fast Company calls itself "the first news organization to write strictly for the mobile lifestyle," is an unusual app that tries to simplify the process of absorbing news information on the go. Its trick is to break down the news into brief stories, a bit like extra-long tweets that can be updated or expanded as news events unfold. The app makes clever use of push notifications on iOS to draw a reader's attention to the news, and also uses other cues like vibrations to alert a smartphone owner to breaking events.
Considering that more of us consume news on the go than on traditional computers, Circa's mobile-first strategy is smart and has been widely applauded.
It's also telling that the recipe works on both Android and iOS platforms—not a feat that every app can pull off with ease.