Swiss Army knives don’t cut it on mobile. Packing in too many features creates apps that seem bloated and slow. Perhaps more than any company, Facebook has struggled to adapt its busy website to the small screen. But through a talk with Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its Messenger team in November, a strategy to make the social network feel lean across devices came into focus. Facebook plans to conquer mobile one app at a time.
In the world of mobile apps, the biggest news from this week was the announcement, by Facebook, of a new app, built by the social network, to read news and stories: Paper. Make sure to watch thevideo, which is very Apple-esque in its elegance and emotion. When Facebook announces these kind of apps, it evokes memories of their previous attempts to build and distribute standalone apps that unbundle one of its features, such as Camera, Poke, or Messenger. The initial reaction within the technology startup community has been a mix of skepticism and excitement, with some drooling over the new design (it does look good) while others lament its a copy (some interactions do look like Flipboard).