App by British schoolboy hits 500,000 downloads and is number one in 28 countries

Rob Waugh
The app has been downloaded 500,000 times since launch (Image: Summly)

An app written by a 17-year-old British schoolboy has been downloaded 500,000 times on iTunes - becoming number one in Apple's charts in 28 countries.

It was written by Nick D'Aloisio when he was still a pupil at King's College, Wimbledon - and D'Aloisio still claims he aims to complete his studies.

The news app, Summly, has been on offer for just over a month - and offers 400-word summaries of longer news articles. Its summaries have already been read 30 million times.

The app has attracted investment from major investment funds worldwide, and support and advice from stars such as Ashton Kutcher, and Britain's Stephen Fry.

[Related: Britain's powerful 'Atlas' computer commemorated]

Nick D'Aloisio's app, Summly, came to the attention of technology investor Li Ka-Shing, the world's eleventh richest man, last year.

It is currently ranked Number 2 in the US App Store News Category and at one point reached the top of the UK App Store.

D’Aloisio said: “The response over the last few months has been overwhelming for the business and we couldn’t be happier to see the feedback from across the industry and most importantly, the people using Summly every day.

“Summly was designed for everyone who loves to read the news, and our mission is to give them the best experience possible on a mobile phone."

"We believe summarisation technology has huge potential which we will be exploring over the coming months.”

Nick D'Aloisio launched Summly in December 2011 as a prototype that garnered significant interest worldwide.

With backing from Horizons Ventures, and help from many natural language processing and artificial intelligence experts around the world, the app has evolved since then.

The company is now in talks with media giants such as News Corporation.