For its millions of users, Flipboard changed the way people viewed content on the Web using their smartphones. From just browsing boring Web sites, smartphone users were treated to a magazine-like interface that made news a visually enriched experience.
Flipboard’s move could not have been done with better timing. Google has closed down its RSS reader service Google Reader. Users of Google Reader are currently scrambling for an RSS reader that they could use. Flipboard fits the bill in being able to present RSS feeds into something that people could read. On top of that, they could keep in touch with their Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as other sites they want to keep track of.
Flipboard worked on mobile screens, and for a while, it was seen only as a mobile-only app. Now that it has crossed over to browsers, it has become one of the mobile-first apps that found success on the desktop.
Flipboard is following the footsteps of such success stories as Instagram. Instagram flourished being confined to smartphones, and in fact, became very popular with smartphone users. But then Facebook bought it and it was slowly ported for the desktop.
Flipboard’s move to the desktop is understandable. They will be able to increase the number of users. Not everyone nowadays may have an iOS or Android device, but most everyone has an access to a Web browser.
In effect, we do not see Flipboard porting every functionality it has on its mobile app onto the desktop. They will retain some functions as mobile-only. But moving some of the functions they have to the browser will help entice more users to download the app itself. This is very much like what Instagram did with their own app, photo uploading and filters are only available on the app itself and not on its Web interface.
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