Ina Fried

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Flipboard Shares the Story on Its Android Beta, Global Ambitions

After an early version leaked out, Flipboard is now ready with an official beta version of its Android software.

Flipboard started making the test software available on Wednesday, though users must request the product on the company’s site and get download instructions via email.

The goal of the managed beta is to better understand all of the different types of devices and versions of the operating system that Android owners are using, Flipboard marketing executive Marci McCue said on Wednesday.

“We need more data,” McCue said from the sidelines of the D10 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Like other iOS developers looking to add Android support, Flipboard is trying to ensure that it can deliver a good experience on a vastly larger number of products than it has ever tried to support.

Although the Flipboard’s Android software leaked out shortly after it was demoed at the Galaxy S III launch, McCue said the company opted to do a few more revisions internally before releasing the code to the public.

It will send a note to all users of the leaked version, letting them know that an official, updated beta is now available.

The beta version, McCue said, is geared specifically to phones and has an experience much more similar to the one-handed interface seen on the iPhone than the one used on the iPad.

Flipboard for Android will also come on Samsung Galaxy S III models in certain countries, though the exact positioning will vary by country and carrier. In some cases, the company’s new Android widget will be preloaded, as well.

With versions out for the iPad and iPhone, and the test version for Android also released, the top priority for the company now is increasing the number of languages in which the software is localized, as well as the amount of international content available, McCue said.

Flipboard is currently localized in French, Chinese and Japanese, with local content available in about 10 countries.

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A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation or something. You know, put a for-sale sign on the door.

— Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel