updated 09:40 pm EDT, Mon July 11, 2011
Philadelphia newspapers to discount Android slates
Philadelphia's Daily News and Inquirer are together trying an experiment in digital reading that would see both offer their own branded tablets. Both devices, whose manufacturer and model aren't yet known, will be sold at a discount in return for a subscription. The two will come preloaded with one-for-one recreations of the papers from their print versions, native apps optimized for a tablet size, as well as links to philly.com.
The hardware will come from a known tablet manufacturer and will be Wi-Fi to start with, though Philadelphia Media Network President Greg Osberg, who unveiled the early details on Monday, hinted 3G and 4G would be options. The apps may provide the best access since they could have exclusive content not available in print versions.
Device naming and the pricing should be available in about four to six weeks. A trial of more than 100 and less than 100,000 customers should start in August.
An iPad app update will be available to give Apple users many of the Android features, although users will have to buy their own.
The deal could be a rare victory for Android in digital reading so far. Most tablet-optimized magazines and newspapers are written for the iPad first and often have little if any Android support. Low market share among Android tablets, along with late SDK access and poorer developer tools, has given publications like News Corp's The Daily little incentive to move beyond Apple.
A key barrier may be pricing. Subsidizing the range of tablets could cost millions of dollars that many newspapers don't have as their print readership declines faster than they can get web and app readers. Studies have lately shown many considering cancelling their print subscriptions and are leaving the publishers in a race to catch these users. [via Liliputing]