The wildly popular iPad news and blog aggregator app, Flipboard, finally released an iPhone counterpart last week. The enthusiasm for the app resulted in several hours of downtime for Flipboard during the morning of its release, with many users unable to access the service, login or create new accounts. That didn’t stop over 1 million downloads of the app since its release on December 7.
In terms of functionality, the app is a tiny cousin of the iPad layout with a wide variety of pre-fab channels, from The New Yorker to Hi-Fructose to Dwell. Content can also be pulled from many social services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and others. The release of the iPhone app also features Cover Stories, a set of articles culled through learning about a reader’s behavior in the app. The selection and order of content channels is synchronized between the iPad and iPhone apps if an account exists on both devices. Though the iPad’s bigger screen makes for an enjoyable space to consume content, the Retina display of the iPhone really shines in displaying image-heavy posts.
Not to be outdone, Google then released its Currents app, a Flipboard clone. , which already had an iPad app, followed two days after Flipboard with its own iPhone version. In the Android sector, Smart Magazine was also released today. Its makers utilize “digital intuition” that claims to hone content to the user’s preferences. Zite also offers a similar learning structure within the app. Aside from its new Cover Stories feature, Flipboard only serves up straight data streams from whatever sources are selected — it does not offer further customization.
The proliferation of apps in the content aggregation space does not seem to be slowing — I can’t wait to see what comes out next. Maybe a Kindle clone of one of these services? Some customization of the channels to focus on text-heavy posts would be ideal on an e-ink device.