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Friday, July 23, 2010

Flipboard Review - A social magazine for the iPad

On Wednesday, a new application made its appearance on the AppStore.

OK - I might be going iPad mad at the moment, but this is free (we like free stuff) and it bills itself as a social magazine.

Imagine the worlds of Twitter and Facebook being presented in magazine format.  It's a clever concept, and once I'd got over the initial hurdle of linking my accounts (due to everyone trying at the same time, and their servers being unable to cope - where have we heard that before!) I found it to be quite beguiling.

I'm not a huge twitterer (or should that be tweeter?) but I do dip in occasionally, to see what's going on.  Indeed, this blog will appear on there, as a means to drive traffic to read it.  I'm also not a massive user of Facebook - I update my status every now and then, but otherwise, I just catch up on what's going on.

So when I heard about Flipboard, I wasn't sure of the relevance to me.  However, I have been quite surprised.  I'm not sure how it can be free, indeed I don't know the business model behind it, but I reckon there'll be adverts popping up soon, which, if handled and presented properly, won't interfere with the overall flow of the application.

When you start it up, you are presented with the 'cover' page.  Flip it across, and you will see 9 boards. In fact, you'll see 6, with space for three more.

The top left ones are free for you to add your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The rest are populated by Flipboard, and these can be changed as you like.

When you select a board, the page flips over, and presents you with the content.  Twitter, for example, shows updates from the last few minutes, and it is possible to open them further and comment; just as you would reply. You can also see other replies.
Some tweets refer to actual website addresses (urls), and these are presented in full, rather than just the link; with further links to the website.
I like the fact that you can reply to posts, but you can't post directly from the app.  This could be something that is introduced in a later release.  For now, though, I can live without it.

On the Facebook page, again, statuses are presented, and you can 'Like' and comment, just as you would on the website.  You can click on the "Read on the web" button, to take you to the page - although you'll need to sign into Facebook to get the real appreciation.

One great fact is that, if there is a video, it will play directly in Flipboard - I tried it, and it worked beautifully.

If you want my opinion, I like it.  I can see what they're trying to achieve, and since this is the first release, you can forgive some of the missing  'nice to haves'.

If you have an iPad, this is definitely worth downloading.

Have you tried Flipboard?  What do you think?
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