Flipboard became a fast favorite among new tablet owners. It's a magazine rack in app form. Users could browse a virtual newsstand, flip through digital magazines, and store articles for later reading.
Now Flipboard is expanding its offerings with a new desktop version of its app. It will retain the same feel as the tablet and smart phone app, but with features that optimize the desktop experience and sync up with other devices.
The hope is that expanding to further devices, especially ones with bigger screens, will complete the magazine app’s ecosystem, retaining customers and bringing in people who don’t want to read on a portable device.
The Flipboard desktop website works pretty much the same as the app, but design and control elements have been updated for desktop browsing. Users can control the layout of the magazines, such as the option to have high-res images from photo-heavy magazines take up more screen space. The overall online design features text-over-image and simple animations, which provide a more seamless scrolling experience. Users can choose magazines and topics to follow (such as “smart phones” or “wildlife”), and the website will offer articles on those topics from across the Web.
The desktop app also allows for more integration of different news outlets and formats. Users can sync up their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts so that the app will take content from social media and display it alongside articles. If users sync up all their accounts, it means less hopping from website to website to see what people are talking about in different conversation corners of the social Web. In essence, Flipboard could become the only place people have to check for news — or at least a jumping off point.
This comes at an interesting time for social media and news. Social media sites are experiencing the growing pains that come with a flood of users, such as Twitter recently admitting it has a “troll” problem. If Flipboard can cut out Web nuisances, and bring quality content to users’ desktop, they could find a solid footing among disillusioned social media users.
Tablet sales have also recently stalled, which indicates Flipboard is thinking about the future of news — no matter where people read it.
If you already have Flipboard for your smart phone or tablet, you can sync up your account to the desktop version, which is available right now.