Well, that was fast: Soon after word leaked, Facebook Paper is on the way February 3rd. Will it replace Flipboard? Probably not, but you don’t get paid if you don’t try!
Paper is, as we mentioned, essentially Flipboard, but Facebook’s version. It also sounds like they’re cribbing a few features from Buzzfeed, according to Mashable:
The new app will surface content from 19 different “sections,” including sports, tech, pop culture, and “LOL.” The app also has a “Newsfeed” section, which is the same News Feed users are accustomed to on the native apps, but with a new design. Each section will have a rotating carousel of images across the top, and individual cards and stories below that image.
Well, that just sounds… busy. This will be an iOS-exclusive app, for now; it’ll premiere for your iFruit next week, but Facebook has admitted it has no timeline for developing an Android version, you know, because not developing for the operating system with the largest market share is a great way to introduce your application.
As for Paper’s long-term chances of success, we have to admit we’re skeptical, bar one possible change. It’s 2014; everybody’s got a “digital magazine” app, and it’s not like Facebook is the Tiffany of mobile app development. “Like the app you used to use, but beta and from a company who wants to hoover up every possible scrap of data we can get from you” is not a compelling sales pitch.
That said, Paper has gotten a lot of positive feedback as being better than Facebook’s terrible apps for iOS and Android in the first place, and users might dump the Facebook app in favor of Paper simply because it’s easier to use. If that happens, then Facebook will probably switch.
But we’ll find out one way or the other. Paper will be on the App Store Feburary 3rd.