Jason Baptiste of OnSwipe Talks Tablets, TV, & Taking On Google

12/13/11Follow @gthuang

Beware of CEOs who dress like their company logo. Beware of Jason Baptiste.

Just kidding. Baptiste is one of the most intensely likable startup founders around (emphasis on intense). His company, New York-based OnSwipe, is trying to take the tablet publishing world by storm. And not just with its aggressively stylish magenta-and-black color scheme.

OnSwipe makes a software platform for publishers to display their content and ads on tablet Web browsers, starting with the iPad. If that sounds a bit similar to Google Currents, the mobile publishing app that the Web search giant unveiled last week, well, Baptiste doesn’t seem too worried about the competition. In response to an article saying that “Google Currents might be OnSwipe’s nightmare,” Baptiste tweeted: “I fear Currents like Twitter feared Buzz and YouTube feared Video.” (OK, he doesn’t lack for confidence.)

We caught up with Baptiste earlier this month in Boston, where he spoke about the deeper ideas behind OnSwipe at Xconomy’s “6×6: Six Cities, Six Big Tech Ideas” conference (you can see photos here—Baptiste represented New York with flair). He also shared some broader views on the future of Web content and advertising, and argued for OnSwipe’s vision of browsing via tablets and touchscreens.

“Instead of a world with ugly text-like ads, we’re going to see a world with beautiful full-page, magazine-like advertising that will finally fill the gap” in the $50 billion in ad spending that’s expected to move from print to digital media, Baptiste said after his talk.

In a short video interview produced by my colleague Lilly O’Flaherty, Baptiste talked a little more about OnSwipe’s specific goals and challenges. You should check out the video below, but here are three highlights to whet your appetite:

1. “The tablet is the TV of this generation.”

2. “It’s not going to be 300 channels or 3,000 channels, it’s going to be millions of channels.”

3. “If Google gained its distribution by powering search, OnSwipe wants to gain distribution by powering [tablet browsing] experiences.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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