Wunderlist becomes a shared task management app in version 2

Somehow I missed the announcement of the December 18 release of a second generation product of Wunderlist from Berlin-based Wunderkinder. Wunderlist was widely heralded as an example of beautiful and intuitive design of a personal task management tool, with more than three million users signing up in the first release.

The company used the momentum from the first release to pour a lot of energy into Wunderkit, a project to build a team task management solution that has been shelved. Why? Wunderlist was originally a teaser, a small taste of the wonderful Wunderkit to come. But it rapidly took on a life of its own, and had a very large installed based when they finally released the first version of Wunderkit. A lot of those users didn’t want to transition to Wunderkit, and with Wunderkit Wunderkinder found itself in a new market with a new set of advanced competitors.

So they did the smart thing and started to improve Wunderkit in a lot of subtle ways, but most importantly, moving the tool from being strictly a personal tool (or what I generally call solo task management) into the middle realm of shared task management.

Shared task management means that tasks (and other information) default to being solo, but can be shared — in a limited way — with others. And in fact, Wunderlist 2 is a near-perfect example of the pros and cons of a shared task management solution.

In the image below you see really all you need to know about Wunderkit 2 in one screenshot:

In the left margin is a panel showing all the ‘lists’ I have defined. Most of these are solo, but the one selected is a shared list, indicated by the head icon. In that list all the tasks defined — two — are shared with all those invited. But as the name of the selected task indicates, tasks can’t be assigned: they can only be shared. Which means if I created a list of tasks and shared them with you, either of us could see them, check them off, add comments, and set due dates, but I couldn’t explicit say this task is for you to accomplish, and this one is mine.

While Wunderlist 2 does provide for subtasks, they also can’t be assigned, and they also lack due dates and comments.

And lastly, because Wunderlist 2 tries so hard to retain the feel of a solo tool, even when task lists are shared the tasks don’t really have comments. What a task has is a single note: the sort of thing that a soloist would use for information about the task. Bu comments include the identity of the author, which are absent in these task notes, and they support a discussion form factor.

Bottom Line

I think Wunderkinder has done a great job with Wunderlist. Three million users and 100 million tasks suggest they have a solid model for solo task management. Shared task management is an iffy middle ground and Wunderlist 2 will satisfy the needs of those that need to only occasionally share tasks, and then with only a small number of people. For example, putting together a task list for a work group of three people for something lightweight, like planning an offsite meeting, for example. But it is simply not up to larger groups dealing with many tasks and complex interdependencies and the need to communicate in the task context.

If in fact Wunderkinder is headed a step at a time toward team capabilities, the next features will be comments instead of notes and task assignment. And then they will be moving stepwise toward the same territory that Wunderkit was supposed to conquer, but they will be bringing their three million existing users along with them.

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Another task done: Wunderlist for Windows Phone

Windows Phone handset owners have good reason to hit their app store today: Wunderlist, a free task management app, landed on the platform. The software, found in the Windows Marketplace, offers cloud-based task synching and the ability to email tasks directly to the app.

Wunderbar! Why millions are flocking to Wunderlist

Om has called 6wunderkinder “one of his favorite new companies”, and there’s good reason. The startup is one of the leading lights in the burgeoning Berlin scene, and impressive take-up claims for its first app could spell good news for its second, more fully-featured offering.

Despite being only a year and a half old, the company already has two core task management products. 6wunderkinder said this week that Wunderlist has amassed two million users in the 15 months since launching, but so far they’re keeping schtum on uptake for the still-in-beta Wunderkit — a fuller project management platform that could have enterprise as well as consumer appeal.

Wunderlist’s adoption seems to be accelerating: six months ago, 6wunderkinder said the app had drawn a million users over nine months. Those are the sort of numbers that drew in $4.2 million of funding from Skype founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico last November.

Part of the acceleration, however, may be down to the fact that the company has taken the app to more platforms. While it began as an iOS, PC, Mac and web-app affair, with an Android version built on the Titanium platform, it has since then expanded to Linux and BlackBerry while gaining a less-kludgy native Android iteration. A Windows Phone version is also on the horizon.

Announcing its second milestone earlier this week the company gave some stats for Wunderlist’s usage so far:

  •          Eight million lists created
  •          75 million tasks created
  •          812 million syncs handled
  •          ‘App of the week’ in over 100 countries, with availability in 30 languages
  • But even though it’s now launched Wunderkit, 6wunderkinder says it won’t be abandoning its previous app. In a cute ‘love letter’ to its first app on Tuesday, 6wunderkinder stressed that Wunderlist may have lacked attention during the first weeks of Wunderkit’s existence, but the older child would not be left behind.

    “You’ve probably been asking yourself: why is my sync not quite as reliable as it used to be? Why does Wunderkit get recurring tasks? We’d like to reaffirm our commitment to you. Over the coming year we’re going to make sure you get the attention you deserve. We’ll be rebuilding you from the ground up, making sure that you run faster, lighter and better than you ever have before. We’ll even be able to get you those new features you’ve been dying to have.”

    As for how it intends to make money? Well, 6wunderkinder posted an interesting update last week. The original plan was to have a paid version of the service, at $4.99 a month, which would have been needed if the user wanted to collaborate with people outside of their own ‘workspace’.

    But users responded by saying the platform’s adoption would probably be hindered by crippling its collaborative nature, and 6wunderkinder changed its mind and de-limited the free version. The $4.99-per-month Pro scheme still stands, but it’s now targeting heavy users who might want increased storage, for example.

    6wunderkinder told GigaOM that Wunderlist saw a brief spike in takeup after Wunderkit went into public beta. The company has not disclosed Wunderkit’s adoption figures yet, but it did say 140,000 people had joined the waiting list for that beta, and it expected Wunderkit to hit the million-user mark as quickly — if not faster — than Wunderlist did.

    Need a free mobile task manager? Try Wunderlist

    For all the advances smartphones have brought us, task management apps still seem to have room for improvements. Wunderlist, just updated for Android, is my current task app of choice due to cross-platform support with iOS, a web client, solid syncing and smart features.