InstapaperInstapaper, by definition, is a tool to save web articles and web content that you want to read later.

Essentially, when you find something while doing your interweb browsing that you’d like to read later, you can use the Instapaper “Read Later” browser bookmarklet, and it will save the content and sync it to your iPhone. Now that is cool.

So, how does this magical trickery work? First and foremost, you’ll need an account at Instapaper.com. Don’t worry, it’s free.

After you set up your account, you’ll need to download the Read Later bookmark plugin for your browser. The plugin is available for Safari, Firefox and IE, but Safari and Firefox are preferred.

Next, you’ll want to go to the iPhone App Store and download the Instapaper app. After you’ve done all that, you’re pretty much ready to go and start reading and syncing your web content offline.

Not only can you grab content from the various websites you visit, you can also send items directly from within Google Reader. Trust me, I practically LIVE in Google Reader and was blown away when I learned of that functionality, but really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Since the developer, Marco Arment, has graciously released th application API there is a wide ranging list of feed-reading, Twitter and social news apps that support sending pages directly to Instapaper.

Instapaper works on WiFi, Edge, and 3G, which is good for those times when you may not be in the best cellular reception area. Even with those network limitations, Instapaper has you covered. Through your Instapaper.com browser based account settings you’re able to specify precisely how text should be parsed on your mobile device:

  • The New Text Parser With Images removes most text from the output that’s unlikely to be the article’s body. Retaining some images
  • The Original Text Parser leaves more text, even if it’s not part of the article’s body, and also strips all images

That’s cool and all, and you can probably tell by my tone that I’m a fan of this app, but where I think Instapaper stands out is in its ability to automatically delivery wireless content to the majority of the top tier e-book readers. By providing Kindle-compatible files, users can do one of two things with Instapaper:

  • Transfer text files via USB
  • Set up wireless delivery to automatically send your most recent Instapaper stories every day or week (Note: Amazon charges for each wireless delivery and there are restrictions depending on what country you live in)

Don’t have a Kindle? No problem. ePub files are provided to support devices such as the Sony Readers and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

Watch this brief video created by the developer as he shows the usability of the app and how it integrates quite nicely with how you read web content on your iPhone. Very slick and makes the Pro upgrade pricing seem worth the $5 price:

For the Pro version visit the App Store here. If you don’t need all of that functionality, the free version is also available in the App Store here.

Are you planning on getting an iPad? Instapaper will be there as well (see the preview image below):

Photo Credit: tjshirey

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