updated 11:45 am EDT, Fri October 8, 2010
Galaxy Tab serving as Android news template
Samsung's Galaxy Tab is expected to be the reference point for news on Android tablets as companies reduce their dependence on the iPad, sources said Friday. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are both said to be developing apps for the seven-inch device with the hope of launching the same app elsewhere. One WSJ tip had the NYT app coming preloaded on some devices and available for free until the site's paywall goes up in January 2011, while the WSJ app itself would follow a typical subscription model.
USA Today has already confirmed that it's developing a Galaxy Tab app, a fact helped by the presence of its newspaper in the Reader Hub that Electronista tested at CTIA this week. The hub combines three common apps in a single place, including Kobo for traditional books, PressDisplay for one-for-one recreations of newspapers and Zinio for magazines.
The diversification would also include content on the BlackBerry PlayBook. In addition to the known Amazon Kindle and Kobo eReader deals, WSJ parent News Corp. is reportedly looking into discounted newspaper subscriptions on RIM's slate.
Reasons for the expansion are broad but include both financial and technical decisions. Some hardware designers have lured periodicals to the prospect of a native app deal by promising to advertise in these areas. Others have been drawn in by the support for background downloading and other subscription models that aren't necessarily an option on the iPad.
Publishers have written for the iPad first both because it was the first mainstream mobile tablet on the market but also due to its since-realized expectations for strong sales, which hit 3.27 million in just the spring and should have gone much higher in the summer. However, it doesn't currently have an automatic way of downloading new issues or a business model to support subscriptions. That may change as an official newsstand app may be in the works. If proven accurate, it would offer background downloads and possibly provide a better deal for publishers wanting more competitive issue prices.