Flipboard Finally Comes (Unofficially) to the Android Masses

Some things just cannot stay hidden. One of the most popular iOS apps of all time is now unofficially available for Android: Flipboard, the personalized magazine app that had been exclusively available only on the iPhone and iPad, has made its way to Android smartphones through an enterprising hack by a developer at XDA Forums. The greatest part? It is incredibly easy to install.

Flipboard originally was an iPad-only app. In fact, it was one of the first and best iPad-only apps. Last June, Flipboard CEO Mike McCue said at the ReadWriteWeb 2Way Conference that the company would first work on an iPhone app (which it delivered six months later) before working on Android. Almost a year later, we finally have Flipboard for Android.

"We have to be careful not to get ahead of ourselves," McCue said at 2Way. "Do one platform, do it incredibly. You will see us stay on the iPad and iPhone for quite some time.”

McCue was not kidding. A year is an eternity in app development cycles. But Flipboard stuck to its guns and created a dynamic iPhone app first before tackling Android. In this way, it is not unlike Instagram, which created a user base of 30 million people on the iPhone before porting to Android. 

There is distinct value in developing for one platform and doing it well. If the product is sound (as Flipboard and Instagram certainly are), then you create a faithful user base that raves to its friends about how good the app is. That creates an organic growth campaign that the company can build upon. You know how these things go. I tell a friend, and she tells two friends, who tell two friends, and so on and so on. 

The other half of the smartphone landscape then becomes jealous that it does not have access to this great app. When Instagram released its app for Android, it had 5 million downloads in a matter of days. Since that time (and being acquired by Facebook), Instagram has added nearly 20 million users. 

Flipboard will not take off like Instagram. Not yet, at least. It is not officially available for Android yet. But, it is not hard to get.

XDA Forum developer Valcho found the Android Package file (.apk) and posted it to XDA. All a user needs to do is get that .apk on their Android device one way or another, and Flipboard will download.

Steps:

From mobile:

  • Go to Valcho’s post at XDA Forums through your Android’s browser.
  • Click on the .apk file on the bottom of the post. 
  • The Flipboard file will download. Open it and download the app.
  • Note: Make sure your Android device accepts .apk files from outside sources. Go into Settings – Security and check Unknown Sources to allow installation of non-Google Play applications. 

From your computer:

  • Go to Valcho’s post at XDA Forums.
  • Click on the QR Code link next to the .apk file. 
  • Scan the QR code. The file will download. Open the file and download the app.

OR

Download the .apk to your computer. Transfer it to your Android device through email, Dropbox (or another personal cloud provider), or through the micro-USB. Follow the above steps when you download the file. 

It is extremely simple, and from what we can tell from reactions on the Web this morning, it is working for new (HTC One X), middle-aged (HTC Thunderbolt) and older (Droid X) Androids. 

Are you going to download Flipboard or wait until an official build hits Android’s Google Play market? Let us know in the comments.