OVERMATTER

Where the team behind MATTER write about writing about the future.

June 6, 2012 at 5:13pm

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Why no app?

A few people have asked us when they’ll be able to download the MATTER app. The rather unsatisfying answer is that we’re not sure. We do know that you’ll be able to get our first stories at our website, as well on the Kindle, iPad and other e-readers. But we we’re not going to release an app for iOS or Android at launch.

Why? It’s partly a matter of priorities. The Kickstarter community was amazingly generous, but the pot of money that they pledged only goes so far. We think it’s best spent on great content and a beautiful website. The considerable costs of building one or more apps just didn’t feel like a good use of the money.

There is also the question of whether it’s worth building an app, regardless of costs. Technology Review editor Jason Pontin recently described how he wasted time and money building apps for his magazine. Apps that he has now decided to kill. Paul Carr, a former TechCrunch writer, thought he’d build apps when he started work on NSFW Corporation, a tablet-focused satirical news magazine. When his mag launched in beta last month, Carr said he was delighted to have abandoned his app plans.

Their reasoning is the same as ours: HTML5 allows us to build a website that will look and feel much like an app, but run in a browser. If you need convincing, fire up the Financial Times in your tablet browser. The experience is impressive. Which is not to say that apps don’t have advantages. They do, and we can imagine building them in the future. (Especially if readers demand that we do). But, at least at launch, MATTER will begin life in a browser.

Jim, MATTER co-founder  

Notes

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