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OnSwipe: an appless solution for tablet publishing

OnSwipe: an appless solution for tablet publishing

When the iPad was released a year ago, it was immediately clear that the device offered enormous possibilities for news organisations and publishers in general. With Apple promoting its App Store heavily, it seemed natural to turn to apps as a way of publishing on the iPad. Now, however, as the limitations of that approach are becoming apparent, other options are increasingly discussed.

The buzz around HTML5 has been growing for some time now. Jason Baptiste, CEO of OnSwipe, is one of the advocates of HTML5: in a recent interview with GigaOM, Baptiste noted that HTML5 makes it possible to create web pages that are up to par with native apps in terms of visual appearance and user interface.

Publishing content on the Internet, instead of developing dedicated apps, Baptiste said, would solve one of the main issues publishers have with the current tablet market: to make their publications accessible with all of the devices out there, they have to develop a version for each of the platforms available. All tablet devices naturally have adequate web-browsing capabilities, making HTML5 content free of compatibility issues.

Cult of Mac's Mike Elgan discussed some of the other reasons Baptiste has given for publishing online. Firstly, publishing on the Internet permits a smooth integration with social media, as content can be accessed very easily through Twitter, for example. Secondly, distribution expenses would be lower, as no intermediary is required to distribute content. Putting eBooks and other content online also enables those titles to show up in web searches, resulting in an increase in traffic.

OnSwipe turns websites into a tablet-friendly form, and the process is, according to Baptiste, very quick and easy. It is already available to bloggers on WordPress.com. The company could have licensed its platform to publishers but chose to do something more ambitious: "We decided to give the software away, and have as many people publish in an infinitely customizable way, and we would build a thread that pulls them all together," Baptiste said. The aim is to turn the publishing tools into a kind of ecosystem. Part of it is the function of saving articles for later reading, which makes it possible to provide recommendations based on what people choose to save.

OnSwipe is also concentrating on advertising possibilities, wanting to give advertisers tools to turn their existing advertising campaigns into app-style pages. As TechCrunch noted, OnSwipe has been successful succeeding in arousing investors' interest, and the year-old company seems to be off to an interesting start.

Die Zeit and the Center of Public Integrity, for example, have also utilised HTML5 in creating app-like sites, and many more are expected to follow suit. Could it be that apps are just a phase in how people consume news on tablet devices? Does HTML5 represent the real future for mobile news?

Sources: GigaOM, Cult of Mac, TechCrunch



Teemu Henriksson


2011-05-03 16:29

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