I've played around with Snackr a bit now... so I'll start with answering the questions posed before I start making my unsolicited suggestions.
Does this solve a need for you? If so, what need?
I generally use my iPhone instead of my car radio so that I can catch up on podcasts while I'm driving. So I could see myself using this app on occasion (maybe more often if I could organize podcasts with it, too.) I might also see this app being useful as a low vision aid -- but the interface isn't really too friendly for people who have reduced vision.
Does the UI work well to address that need for you?
While I'm driving, I don't really want to look at my iPhone's screen at all, but the UI for this app relies on the touchscreen far too much for my driving safety. When the description said: "Think Siri..." -- I was expecting a voice-controlled interface, where I could say, "Next Story" and Snackr would skip ahead. I thought this might be a iPhone-based version of speech recognition in systems like Ford Sync, but I don't think that's true (unless I've missed something).
As a user, how bothered are you by apps that ask you to "Connect with Facebook?"
I really don't like connecting apps to my Facebook account -- especially when I see the warnings that apps can post to my Wall on my behalf and do things that I don't necessarily want apps to do for me. Is there a particularly good reason for requiring a Facebook account? I'm not 100% clear on how my Facebook info benefits my Snackr personalization (other than it pulls my name, so that it can greet me with "Hi Mike"). Will Snackr start serving personalized ads based on my Facebook likes? Will it just tell all my friends when I use Snackr? Or will it start telling everyone I know that I listened to a particular story? These are the kinds of issues that could really annoy users, especially if it's not clear when these actions will be done.
My other random comments on Snackr:
• The text-to-speech is pretty good, but automated speech technology (in general) still has a way to go before it's really on par with the way real humans talk. (Is there a reason why the default voice sounds British?)
• I think there could be some nicer ways to skip forward and back a few seconds -- in a TiVo-esque way. One benefit of not listening to "live broadcasts" is that you should be able to skip around and get the last sentence repeated, in case you missed what was just said.
• The selection of channels seems a bit limited, but I'm sure that must already be on your product roadmap.
• I didn't see a way to limit the news to "just headlines" -- and I was somewhat annoyed by stories that simply re-stated the headline and didn't provide further information. If the summary is no better than just reading the title of the story, then give me a way to just get the headlines.
• The UI isn't a "fully audio" interface, so it seems like it's missing a total commitment to audio because it doesn't accept voice commands. On the other hand, the visual UI isn't complete either because I can't read the full headline of each story even though the screen real estate is big enough to accomodate several full headlines. The overall UI is decent, but I can't say I'm fully satisfied when I'm using it.
• The process of creating a personal channel seems almost unnecessary (perhaps because of the limited selection of sources shown to the user). I think I might prefer a personalized channel that was "automagically" generated based on the stories I liked/shared/etc in the past. The "Pandora for audio news" description isn't obvious from the way personal channels are created by users (at least not to me).
Those are just my first impressions after playing with it for about 10 minutes.