One of the most popular apps on the iOS platform is Flipboard. It has been around for some time, and it was finally released for Android on 22 June. On that day, in an ABC News interview, Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue said that “People are using Flipboard on one out of every 10 iPads right now”. He added, “We looked at the Android device specifically, and all the different screen sizes, and made sure Flipboard would look great on all those different types of phones.”
For those of you who don’t know Flipboard, it is basically supposed to be an all-in-one “magazine”, having all your favourite topics, information and news streams, and impressively, social networks in one place. The interactive format lends a lot of customization options to the app, allowing you to build your own magazine format, essentially. Let’s take a look at what the Android version has to offer.
Installation and Setup
Powering up the app after installation, you are asked to Sign In or create a new Flipboard account. Once created, you are navigated to where all the initial categories are shown, such as News, Technology and Photography, to name a few. You choose the ones you want, and hit done.
You then go to the home screen, and you can start reading. But, to start sharing, you need to set up your social networks from here. You can login on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google Reader, Flicker, YouTube and more. This makes it a complete tool, a place to gather all the information you could possibly need.
The categories and social sites can easily be moved around or removed by simply pressing and holding on any of the icons for a short while.
Look and Feel
This is where the whole package comes together. It looks and works like it does on the iPhone. Navigating through the app is as simple as “flipping” through the stories one at a time. Users can flip up/down to see the next/previous story on the list. While reading the story, you have the option to tweet it, add the story to your favourite list and share the link. You also have the option to view the story on the original website on the webpage.
The animations looks nice, lending to the magazine feel. “Flipping” through the pages is a joy, and I found myself doing it sometimes just to look at the way pictures scrunch up as you start flipping up, and expand as you flip down on the other side.
The screenshot above on the far right is an attempt to show the flipping action described, although you have to see it for yourself.
You should never have a problem with performance, with my use of the Ice Cream Sandwich version always running smoothly. Some minor glitches from time to time can be expected on the Android 2.2 version, Froyo, but from 2.3 Gingerbread it should deliver admirably on performance. On Froyo, I did get a popup after installation that said the app is not completely compatible with the device but I didn’t see any noticeable problems.
Another disadvantage is that there is no Android tablet version of the app available on the Play Store. You will have to make do with the smartphone version of the app until a tablet version is made available. There is also no support for Windows Phone yet.
Android users have been waiting for Flipboard for some time, and it was worth the wait. It was a fantastic app when launched on iOS and that translates well to Android, with Google+ integration a plus as its not available on iOS. If you do not yet have an integrated tool to consume all the information you could ever need, this is an app you should definitely consider.
Download Flipboard for Android here and try it out for yourself!