/// Quartz Shoots for Tablet and Mobile Readers, but Doesn’t Arm Itself With an App
After a summer of buzz, Quartz, Atlantic Media’s new business news site, lights up today. Pro Tip 1: If you want to see what the fuss is about, head over to qz.com , not quartz.com. The latter will only help you if you’re interested in tubing and rod . Pro Tip 2: Even though Quartz makes a big deal of targeting tablet and smartphone users, don’t bother looking for it at Apple’s App Store or Google’s Android Market . Instead of producing apps for the new publication, Quartz expects you find its stuff the old-fashioned way — on the Web, via a WordPress-produced site. Paradoxically, that puts Quartz on the leading edge of digital publishing, or at least in the middle of digital publishing chatter. There’s a lot of talk about “ Web apps” instead of “native apps” , and “responsive design” right now, and Quartz highlights both concepts. In English: Instead of asking readers to download an app to get its stuff on tablets or phones, Quartz will work on the mobile Web browsers those machines already have. And it will publish a single Web site, which will configure itself depending on the kind of device and screen size each reader uses. Duh. Right? Except that just two years ago, the entire publishing world was consumed with the iPad, and tablets in general, and the notion that device-specific apps would allow them to break free of the tyranny of the free Web’s economics. Instead of giving away their stuff online, publishers argued/hoped, they could sell discrete bundles of programming and content via Apple, and hopefully Google and other platforms. But both publicly and privately, many publishers now concede that they’ve been underwhelmed with apps. The road for brand-new titles launched as apps has been even rockier . So the Quartz staff say they decided early on at they would give away their content, and they would do it on the Web. “It seems very clear that the Web is far more suited for sharing of news and articles, and we want everybody to access our stuff,” says senior editor Zachary Seward*. “It sounds sort of silly to say this, but anyone can navigate directly to any of our stories. You can’t do that in the app store world.” Seward showed me a preview of the approach over the weekend, but I was looking at it via MacBook, not iPad, so I can’t vouch for the way the site will display on mobile screens.
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