Monday, October 7, 2013

Tribune wants a bite of the Apple

Originally Published: August 12, 2011
This week CNN reported that after “interviews with more than half a dozen current and former Tribune employees,” who wished to remain anonymous, they learned Tribune Co. is planning its own Android tablet, which it will offer free or at a “highly-subsidized” price to people who agree to sign up for extended subscriptions.
Tribune Co. is one of the largest news enterprises in the country, and they own many of the major dailies in the nation, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun, along with 23 television stations.
If you’re thinking, “oh no, not another tablet,” then this is where I completely agree with you. Although the company wants to offer a tablet with a modified version of Android, I personally think they should stick with app development since there is no way they will be able to compete with the Apple iPad.
With all of the great tablets coming out, especially those from major companies like Samsung, Sony, HTC, Acer and Asus, I know they will probably partner with one of them to make it, but do we really need another tablet?
The tablet will be able to download other apps, so they should just create their own app for Android Honeycomb, which they don’t currently have, and offer a subsidized price or deal for a tablet like Comcast does with the Motorola Xoom. I don’t see how it’s possible to make a tablet with the company highly-integrated into it. Plus, their individual papers already have mobile apps.
I see this being like the designer Pierre Cardin who recently unveiled their own Android tablet, which is essentially a crappy Chinese knock-off re-branded.
I don’t see the Tribune trying to be innovative in a way that they will push the tablet market to new heights.
If they want to embrace the digital age, there are more ways to do it than trying to become a technology manufacturer. I guess it worked for Amazon and B&N with their eReaders, but I can’t see someone buying a tablet or wanting a tablet just for their newspaper.
The company that developed the “Kno” app for iPad to sell textbooks was originally planning to make their own tablet, but decided to embrace the iPad and other new media, to also sell books possibly through Facebook. I think the mobile web has come a long way with the leaps made in smartphone technology, plus there are other great apps that allow you to read a newspaper that is exactly like the print version, but in digital form. Some apps, like the New York Times app for iPad, aims to recreate the experience on a tablet and they had no need for their own branded slate.
Ultimately, I think this will fail unless they change their marketing scheme. I know it’s always great to have choices, but you have to also take into account that there are already established devices out there and most times it takes more than one generation to get all the bugs worked out. For a device that will have competing specs and be a high-end device, you also can’t expect to see it for less than $300 subsidized.
This is all my take though. What are your thoughts?
If you want to read the original CNN article, check it out here.

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