July 31, 2013
Quip Word Processing App Comes To iPad, iPhone
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Quip, a new startup launched by Facebook, FriendFeed and Google alum, is launching its first iPad app.
Bret Taylor, formerly with Facebook and FriendFeed, and Kevin Gibbs, formerly with Google, have said in a blog post they want to bring word processing apps from the 1980s into the modern age of tablets and smartphones. Quip, therefore, works on mobile devices as well as the desktop and moves away from the design of 30-year-old applications.
The new word processing app is built around the "freemium" model, meaning elements of Quip are free to users, but businesses can pay a monthly subscription to use the app in their office. Quip currently runs on iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), though the company has published an Android Preview Release on the Google Play store to give Google users a chance to use the app before it's ready for an official launch.
"Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, phones and tablets have transformed the way we interact with technology and each other," wrote Gibbs and Taylor in the introductory blog post for Quip. The pair also mention a recent study that found that tablets may outsell PCs this year before going on to potentially outsell them six to one in 2017.
"Despite the magnitude of this shift, the software that we use to get work done has not evolved over the past thirty years," the duo mention. "Quip is our perspective on how modern, mobile documents should work."
Quip is intensely focused on collaboration. Teams can trade messages back and forth from the app about which documents they need to complete or who is assigned to which task. Each user in the team can create their own document or folder and begin making edits straight away. When these edits are made or when additions are plugged in, a note of this change is made in a chat window on the left side of the app. Additionally users can use this chat window to update the team on their progress. Messages from this window are also included in the original messages thread about the document, keeping the team on the same page and always up-to-date. Quip documents are also available online via web app, so those who prefer to work with a physical keyboard or a larger screen are able to contribute to the document as well.
The team says they've worked hard to make the mobile app just as functional as any desktop application. Doing this meant stripping away some of the extra features and GUI elements common to some 30-year-old desktop applications.
Typing in a document is similar to working in any other word processing app; users can indent, add paragraphs and format text. Users can also add interactivity elements directly into their document. In an example, Quip shows off this feature with a note on an agenda for a fictional meeting. A team leader can create such a document and include the names of those working on certain assignments directly into the page; anyone reading these assignments can then see if these members are online and working or offline just by tapping their name. Team members can also link to another document and add checklists which teammates can tick whenever they've completed the action item. Though Quip has first launched with a word processing app, the team say they want to create a "productivity suite for the mobile era," potentially hinting towards even more apps in the future.