Tag: flipboard

George R.R. Martin gets his own Flipboard magazine

Posted by – September 21, 2013

World of Ice and Fire Flipboard magazineUp until recently, I’d been extremely selective about the “Song of Ice and Fire” commentary and analysis I paid attention to. The Westeros.org wiki can be a spoiler-laden minefield to navigate while you’re still trekking through the existing books, and I have no regrets yet about allowing BoiledLeather.com into my life. I was wrapping up an epic read through the latter’s chapter remix of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, though, and since it was my first time looking at both of those books, the goal had been to let as many shocks and delights unfold in their full glory as possible.

I’m 100% caught up on the series now, however, so I have no qualms about reading the new George R.R. Martin Flipboard magazine that Random House has launched. The publisher is actually backing two such author-themed ventures right now, one for Martin and one for author Margaret Atwood. And the more I think about them, the more I think these magazines mark a pretty smart move on Random House’s part.

Now, I’ve been on the fence and off again about Flipboard since I first tried it out on my first-gen (now aging, slow and nearly useless) iPad. At first glance, my thoughts were, “Why do I need an RSS reader that shows me fewer headlines at a time and requires more gestures and navigation to see everything I want to see?” Nevertheless, the interface and design have grown on me. Flipboard is a clever platform for tablet (and smartphone) reading when the content plays nicely with it. A lot of publishers just sort of show up, and some barely look like they care about being in Flipboard at all, but when it works, it works well, and I hope the library of accessible publishers who don’t make you click through to a web browser continues to grow.

Fan magazines like this new George R.R. Martin one seem like sensible fits, though, in theory. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of Flipboard stories that require normal web browser viewing, but for magazine-type articles with curated content being mixed in, I could see “The World of Ice and Fire” working out really well. The iPad is where I do most of my novel reading these days, and having a magazine-like experience to complement that makes a lot of sense on Flipboard, both for reader use and an easy option for book publishers, who (let’s face it) can use all the help they can get to corral and connect with audiences these days. I’d love to see some similar Haruki Murakami and Salman Rushdie options show up to the party as well.

Where Microsoft is catching up with Apple and vice versa

Posted by – December 19, 2011

My personalized cover to Flipboard this morning, featuring an Instagram photo from Sean Dove.

2011 was an exciting year for consumer tech developments. As Apple continued to devour market share in the PC market, Microsoft got behind their Kinect controller and got together with Nokia to give the Windows Phone platform a bigger push. I don’t think that you’ll find too many critics willing claim that Microsoft has been ahead of the game in the mobile or desktop OS markets over the last few years, but some notable apps and news stories have percolated recently that offer a little perspective on the battlegrounds and cross-pollinations that will be worth watching in 2012.

• First is the insurgence of Windows Phone-looking design concepts that have been making their way onto the iPhone. Like Bing vs. Google, Windows Phone interface designs have differentiated themselves from traditional iPhone dev schools of design. When I think of Windows Phone screens, I think of tight grids with big, sharp-edged boxes and icons that often just sink into the nav bar, rather that bubbling up on additional shapes. Both the Flipboard and Xbox Live apps have introduced such things to my daily mobile experiences recently, and I think that both work marvelously overall.

• The television market is another place that’s going to be fun to observe in 2012. I looked at a Google TV last year at about this time, and I’ve been testing out an Apple TV over the last couple of weeks. The Wall Street Journal reports that voice commands will likely be a part of the next generation of Apple TVs. Apple already has Siri out in the wild on the iPhone 4S, which no doubt means that they have been gathering lots more user data to funnel into a better voice interface for home entertainment systems. Microsoft began experimenting with a limited set of voice commands when it launched Kinect, so both companies are obviously looking at similar issues and looking for ways to distinguish themselves.

The Apple TV, from what I’ve experienced thus far, differentiates itself by emphasizing AirPlay, the ability to stream content directly from iPhones and iPads. Additionally, Apple seems to have been thinking about things from a Nintendo Wii U perspective, allowing developers to implement two-screen gaming experiences.

I think the Google TV largely failed out of the gate due to some poorly executed (and in many cases, un-executed) partnerships, but I’m sure it will remain a player to some extent as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what other trends and developments appear in 2012. Although, I won’t lie to you; in the voice-recognition race, I care a great deal more about who will finally bring me some software that does a halfway decent job of transcribing interviews.