Onswipe is launching the new version of its publishing platform for mobile browsers today. The biggest change? It now offers full support for Android smartphones.
The company has been talking about the revamp publicly for several months at least. Onswipe says it has actually been rebuilding the platform for nearly a year, and co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Jason Baptiste finally gave me a peek earlier this week.
Of course, we’re talking about a publishing platform, not a consumer website or app, so it’s a bit of a challenge to demo, but Baptiste gave it his best shot by taking me through one of the mobile sites published on the new Onswipe system. As I mentioned, the most visible change was simply that the site worked on Android smartphones — until now, Onswipe’s support for Android was limited to Kindle Fire and Android tablets.
To deliver full cross-platform support, Baptiste said Onswipe websites are now rendered on the server, rather than the device, so the performance is less dependent on the individual hardware. Pointing to his Android phone, he said that it’s much more powerful than older phones but “still severely unpowered compared to a desktop computer.”
“We’re loading pages in under 500 milliseconds,” he added.
Baptiste also said Onswipe sites are now more customizable, because publishers can assemble them using different modules, and if there’s big, breaking news, publishers can add a module to feature that news immediately. (Baptiste seems to be fixated on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford this week — and to be fair, who isn’t? — so he suggested that TechCrunch could create a special Rob Ford widget).
I also asked Baptiste how he’s feeling about Onswipe’s focus on the mobile web instead of apps, he replied, “Look, our phrase is still that apps are bullshit when it comes to publishing.” After all, in addition to direct mobile web visits, traffic from mobile search and social sharing all directs to publisher websites.
“None of our publishers ask about apps anymore,” he said. He also argued that many publishers are discovering that responsive design (where the website customizes its layout to the size of the screen) is “fool’s good” that “can’t deliver on all the promises.”
Onswipe says it now delivers mobile-optimized content to more than 27 million unique visitors each month, totaling 250 million pageviews. That puts it ahead of the iPad traffic to Time.com and Tumblr.com as listed on Quantcast (though it’s a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, since Onswipe isn’t a destination website).
The company announced last week that Baptiste was shifting his role from CEO to CMO, with Jonty Kelt taking over as the chief executive.