updated 12:20 pm EST, Wed February 23, 2011
The Daily iPad exclusive ends in weeks via Android
News Corp's The Daily could have its iPad exclusivity end in a matter of weeks, sources said Wednesday morning. The periodical jointly announced with Apple should now reach at least one Android tablet sometime in the spring, or no more than four months after it reached the iPad. Whether it would be device-specific or not wasn't mentioned by AllThingsD's contacts; the Wall Street Journal Android app is so far specific to the Galaxy Tab.
The swap would be a partial surprise. News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch had promised that other platforms would come, but he had cast The Daily's iPad presence as one that could last for several months, if not years. He had commented that "last year, this year and maybe next year belong to Apple," statements that were taken by some to mean Android could wait as late as 2012.
While suspected at the time, Murdoch's statement is now thought less to have been about actual periodical plans and more a statement of Apple's expected impact on the market. The iPad had virtually complete control over the tablet market in 2010. Analysts have generally agreed that it would still have majority share until 2012 at a minimum.
Neither Apple nor News Corp has commented on the rumor, but Apple is reportedly concerned about the experience of The Daily, including acknowledged problems with crashes, long load times and the slow-moving navigation carousel. The daily magazine is behind held up as Apple's proof its iTunes subscription model can work, and a failure in the app could prove an embarrassment just as the company has been drawing regulatory scrutiny for forcing publishers to use it.
Uptake of the app is believed to be better than expected, even after factoring in the required re-downloads to solve a crashing bug. The results may change once users see their two-week free trials come to an end.