The app discovery space is heating up fast. Just as developers begin to step up the competition surrounding the best way to find new apps, Apple goes and shuts the door on “App stores within its App Store.” You might have heard about the recent Appgratis drama, which added to the Appshopper drama a while ago. Apple doesn’t like others trying to clean up its mess.
While the industry waits to see what Apple will do next, consumers are left out in the dark when trying to discover relevant apps. For now, the best way to do that remains articles like this one, in which people recommend solid apps across the web.
Flipboard, a social reader for iPhone, iPad, and Android (BlackBerry 10 has a ported Android version too, but that doesn’t count.) is hands down my favorite mobile app. I could think of 20 reasons I use Flipboard for hours every day, but for the sake of your sanity, I will list five. So here goes:
5 And the Cherry on Top…
So we have mentioned discovery, we mentioned monetization, but there is still one more challenge mobile developers face. Retention. Flipboard cracked that too with its latest update. Now any Flipboard user can become a curator within the app. BRILLIANT. You can make your own magazines by adding articles you read or wrote and share those magazines on the various platforms. You can have subscribers and users can reflip your content into their magazines. This is such a brilliant move and in case I wasn’t spending enough time in Flipboard before this update, now I am totally hooked.
4 Everything is in the Right Place
So many apps, especially in the social space, add sharing options within their app. Most of them do this poorly. Flipboard, I find, has all the right options in all the right places. Reading, sharing and tweeting a post is a completely intuitive action that requires pretty much no thinking. That is not something you can say for many apps. In addition, Flipboard could have easily added more bells and whistles, but as most successful app developers do, Flipboard focuses on proving the best experience for its users, as opposed to adding more features. Smart move.
3 Advertising Done Right (Yes, That is Possible)
We are all so sick of seeing irrelevant and ugly ads within apps that we seem to have forgotten how good advertising can be if done right. Think about the Super Bowl, or better yet, think about the hard copy magazines that you used to read. Ads can be engaging and they can be interesting. They can also be beautiful. Yet on mobile, most companies have not cracked how to make advertising engaging. Flipboard has. Once again borrowing from the world of magazines, Flipboard’s ads are big, pretty, and make me want to click. And I do. In fact, speaking of making money, I would happily pay a lot for an app as good as Flipboard. Ooops, did I say that out loud?
2 Everything in Moderation
One might think “There are so many news readers available, Flipboard is no different than the rest!” While there are some readers that compete directly with Flipboard, the vast majority do not. There are readers that use an algorithm to detect what it thinks I would want to read and there are those that depend on me to configure my feeds of preference. Flipboard does both. You can read content aggregated by other users or Flipboard itself, or you can read your favorite sites or social feed within the app. This is a killer combination.
1 Flipping is the New Scrolling
I happen to know Mike McCue, the founder of Flipboard and I interviewed him here. The most interesting part of the interview is the story of how Flipboard came to be. Mike was on a plane browsing through a magazine and thought to himself “Why can’t we reproduce this experience on the mobile device?” And so he did. Perfectly. Flipping through my favorite content, whether on iOS or Android is smooth, natural and even fun. Whether you are flipping horizontally (tablet) or vertically (phone), the Flipboard interface is designed to perfection.