Flipboard sees magazine future in tablet computers

Flipboard chief executive Mike McCue on Monday said the startup's iPad application has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times as tablet computers enable personalized Internet-Age magazines.

"The tablet, and principally the iPad, is creating a totally new kind of consumption experience," McCue said during an on-stage chat at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.

"All these things people have dreamed about are finally happening," he continued. "Technology is finally at a point were it is possible to hold what feels like a magazine in your hand and thumb through it."

Flipboard software lets people customize news, social networks and other "feeds" in digital magazines on iPads and then "flip" through Web pages as though reading an ink-and-paper publication.

The application was released about 14 months ago.

The number of "flips" per month has climbed to more than 550 million from 250 million in June and the startup just introduced its first ad to generate revenue, according to McCue.

Use patterns show that people use Flipboard at late evenings, mornings when one might be having breakfast, and on weekends.

"It lends itself well to downtime scenarios when you want to step back and think about your day," McCue said.

Flipboard is seeing "incredible acceleration" in the tablet computing platform dominated by Apple, which has reported selling 35 million iPads in its first 18 months on the market.

"Amazon's tablet is going to be really interesting," McCue said, declining to comment further on unconfirmed reports that the Kindle maker plans to soon release a more sophisticated tablet computer.

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