Flipboard moves into audio. You can now listen while you browse.

Flipboard moves into audio. You can now listen while you browse.

Social reader Flipboard today releases a new update to its mobile app which takes it beyond articles and into the sounds of audio. The updated app features a new audio section that lets its users listen to audio whilst flipping through their favorite content and even using other apps.

Flipboard is the first app of its kind to truly integrate an audio experience beyond merely YouTube videos, and in-article audio interviews.

All audio is included in a new audio category that can found via the top right corner of Flipboard’s interface. The section is searchable but comes with recommended SoundCloud users, as well as popular shows from NPR (National Public Radio) and PRI (Public Radio International).

Founder and CEO Mike McCue explains the vision:

“With this latest addition, we’re giving our readers a personal soundtrack to their Flipboard.”

SoundCloud, with its 15 million users, has scored a big win here with deep integration into the new category. Members of Soundcloud can access all the users they follow, as well as lists they’ve created. They can also listen to, comment on and like sounds from within the app. The good news is that you don’t need to be a SoundCloud member to listen to audio from the audio network.

While the audio you’ve selected plays you can browse Flipboard at your convenience and the next track in the audio category will simply play next. A music note at the bottom left corner of every Flipboard page lets you control the audio irrespective of where you are in the app. And as mentioned earlier, it’s also background enabled so you can still listen while you use other apps.

It’s a marvelous new way to distribute and listen to audio content, one I might just use specifically for podcasts. The user experience is unquestionably superior to iTunes’.

And how long before we see Flipboard dive into video? It’s somewhat surprising it hasn’t decided to explore the video space first. The social magazine already includes a video category but is limited in sources and isn’t ideal for video browsing. With no clear winner in the video magazine space (see ShowYou and TNW Startup Rally winner Shelby.tv), Flipboard can still make it its own.

This Flipboard update is available for all versions of its app now. And be sure to have a search for The Next Web’s daily news podcast, Daily Dose, to catch up on all the day’s tech news headlines.

Today also marks the release of a completely localized version of Flipboard for Japanese users – more on this new release here.

According to the BBC, Flipboard has been downloaded 8 million downloads and a user spends, on average, 90 minutes a month on the service. Impressive for what is essentially a publication . The company is based in Palo Alto and is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer, Index Ventures and Insight Venture Partners.

Read next: Flipboard launches a fully localized edition of its app for Japan [Updated]