OnSwipe, the new service that's supposed to be the next big thing in tablet publishing, was updated today. This was the 2.0 release, and like most second gen releases it was supposed to be the one that worked well. Unfortunately, it's still not worth using.
This new release offers quite a few more layouts as well as support for blog comments, and I was all set today to say nice things about it. I'd been unfair when I posted about the original release; I didn't know at the time that VCs often push a startup to launch before they're ready. But they're still not ready.
I've been following OnSwipe ever since they picked up their first round of capital investment in January. I blogged about them when they launched their first WordPress theme in March, and when their first partner sites launched in June. I like the concept and I've been really wanting to see this service succeed, but today's failure is almost enough to make me give up hope.
I've just spent the past hour playing with the OnSwipe plugin. What it's supposed to be doing is taking my website and showing a tablet optimized version to anyone who visits from a tablet. It's not. First, OnSwipe still only works with the iPad; it ignores all Android tablets.
It also never worked right with my iPad (and then it stopped working completely). If it were working I would post a screenshot. You'd see that the pictures that I use in the blog posts don't make it through the OnSwipe service. So the TOC style home screen that OnSwipe offers is actually filled with a bunch of empty squares. It also crashed Safari, but that was just the icing on the cake.
Needless to say, I'm turning it off and waiting for the 3.0 release.
Luckily that will not present a major problem. The Safari web browser on the iPad is quite good at displaying standard websites. It also now has a new reading mode that lets you pull the articles out and read them without the ads cluttering the view. Here's a couple demo shoots:
As you can see, it's usable. I'm not sure that the iPad needs an app style browsing experience anymore.