After months of publicity, Quibi — the mobile phone app that’s centered on short, bite-sized original programming — is launching today on iPhone and Android. The platform is the brainchild of entertainment industry giant Jeffrey Katzenberg and seasoned tech executive Meg Whitman, and it has been built from the ground up for smartphones. After investing $1 billion in star power and content production, Quibi is about to find out whether consumers are willing to pay $4.99 (with ads) or $7.99 (ad-free) for shows that last 10 minutes or less.
We’ll have a separate review for Quibi’s launch shows, but I’m focusing more on the app itself. To start, let me reiterate that your phone is the only way to experience Quibi. There’s no TV app, which has already stood out as a clear deal-breaker for some people I’ve talked to — especially right now when everyone is at home for so much of the day. You can’t access the service on the web, and there’s not even a tablet-optimized version of the app. No Chromecast. No AirPlay. It’s for your phone, nothing else.