Screenshot of Pulse on the Web
Since its founding about two years ago, mobile news reader app Pulse has grown in numbers of users, publications featured and platforms it runs on.
The app gathers together leading publications in one spot, presenting their content — or links to their content — in a photo-rich, mosaic-tile-style layout. Some 15 million people use Pulse on mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7 and the Kindle Fire.
Today, Pulse is launching on the Web, a result of the company’s work with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team and Seattle-based digital design and development agency Pixel Lab.
“We got feedback from users who said they had an amazing experience using Pulse on their mobile device; why can’t they use it on their computer,” said Akshay Kothari, CEO of San Francisco-based Pulse.
It’s part of what Ryan Gavin, IE general manager at Microsoft, calls a “second generation” type of mobile experience.
The first generation, according to Gavin, started as websites whose creators developed mobile apps. This second generation started as mobile apps and then decided to go on the Web, in part because “they can go from reaching tens of millions of people on mobile devices to reaching hundreds of millions on the Web,” he said.
The problem though, as Gavin sees it, is that the Web experience can often be inferior, with sites that can be clunky to use on touch devices. “No one runs into my office or home and says: Oh my God, I just got this new device. The Web on it is amazing,” he said. “People talk about apps. But for whatever reason, Web on those devices is a second class citizen.”
But that won’t be the case with Internet Explorer 10, contends Microsoft, which is positioning its upcoming browser as “perfect with touch” — able to take advantage of multi-finger gesture integration and technologies that make it fast and responsive, Gavin said.
The collaboration between Microsoft and Pulse started after the software company approached the app company. Microsoft provided resources, including connecting Pulse with Pixel Lab. Together, the three companies brought Pulse’s visual style and user interface to the Web, using HTML5.
Pulse runs on any modern browser, but “shines on IE10 because of the hardware acceleration and gesture integration we can tap into,” Kothari said. “It feels like an app as opposed to a website.”
I wondered if Microsoft’s emphasis on developing app-like sites for IE10 was a way of making up for what could possibly be an initially small number of apps for Windows 8 RT, the version of Windows 8 running on ARM devices that won’t be able to run apps built for earlier versions of Windows.
“No, not in any way, shape or form,” Gavin said. “What you’ll see in the future, as the Web becomes a first class citizen alongside apps in Windows 8, you’ll stop seeing: Is this Web or is it an app? You’ll stop talking about ‘how many apps.’ You’ll just talk about the experience.”
Here’s a video from Microsoft showing Pulse on IE10:
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