There's plenty to read on Flipboard today. Especially if you want to know if it's legal
, how the technology works, and whether or not servers are crashing
under the weight of demand.
But I think this misses the bigger picture.
Flipboard, as you probably know by now, sources content from Twitter, Facebook and others and presents it in an elegant format that looks more like an e-magazine than any of the original publishers.
It's a perfect example of how tablets (or devices) can drive innovation in publishing and not the other way round. It was only when flat screen, wide format TVs started selling in large volumes that 'publishers' upped their game. Remember the first time that you watched CSI on a widescreen with Dolby Surround in 2003? This was TV with cinema production values. Pretty much the norm now for production houses and video game developers, but remarkable then.
The same will happen with tablets. Essentially e-readers (let's not dodge the issue) for consuming content, they're going to shake up publishing and social media like never before. Yesterday, when everyone was raving about Flipboard, Toshiba
launched a dual 7 inch touch screen tablet running Microsoft Windows 7 (Remember Microsoft Courier
anyone?). It also put the cat among the pigeons with a super-low footprint Android solid state netbook.
Meanwhile HP have the recently acquired Palm OS up their sleeve, and Cisco have launched the Cius
, an Android device that's tightly integrated with its suite of collaboration and unified comms tools. All devices that will severely challenge Apple's tablet lead far more quickly than the battle in the smartphone market.
Finally, I think this puts a big question mark over the future of traditional e-magazines. With Flipboard, you have the beginnings of an alternative content aggregation and curation model that just about anyone can use. And once you have an elegant UX to connect with friends and subscribe to channel bundles, the model is complete.
As I said at the start I'm no expert on the legal issues that govern RSS feeds versus raw URLs. And maybe Flipboard will be sacrificed to the lawyers
. But when it comes to the user experience, it's nothing less than revolutionary.