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The NY Post has made a quiet, and very interesting, move. The Post has blocked access to its website via the Safari browser on the iPad. The ONLY way to access Post content is through the iPad app, an app that users must pay for. As of this writing, Post content is still available free via any browser on a PC or mobile phone— but you have to wonder how long that’ll continue.

Of course, the Post is owned by News Corp., which is bullish on charging for digital content.

This is a very interesting move. One of the issues surrounding iPad apps has always been that users can get the same content free via a browser. If browser access is shut off, will that spur app sales? Or, will users go back to their PCs and mobile devices as long as the content is free there? And, will other publishers follow suit and shut off browser access on now only the iPad, but on any device with an Android app?

Stay tuned. The Post very well may have begun a new strategy that could take off.

 

 

Just as some publishers are moving to a metered and other pay wall systems, many others — really, the vast majority — aren’t. Reason: All sorts of research shows people, by in large, won’t pay for content.

That’s no surprise. No one has ever paid for content.  They’ve always paid for the convenience of getting their product to their door, whether via newspaper delivery boy or mail. That’s why asking whether someone would pay for content misses the point entirely.

The question should always be: are you willing to pay for the convenience of getting the information you want in whatever form you want it? That form can include mobile phones, tablets, laptops, print, electronic editions and whatever other form comes about.

Framing the question around the convenience of delivery would bring a much different answer. People are all about convenience; that’s why satellite and cable TV continue to do well in a time that no one really needs them. They bundle a large number of services and deliver it to you in a tidy package that’s easy to access.

Publishers should spend more time focusing on the convenience factor. Not only does it bring clarity to how they should position their product offering, but it also will help lead to decisions about what to include in their product bundle.

Here’s a roundup of happenings in the tablet world in May:

 

If you haven’t heard of Lodsys pay attention. This is the company that owns the patent behind in-app purchasing on the iPad.  Lodsys says it’s granted Apple rights to use the technology but has not extended that to app developers.

S0: Lodsys says developers that don’t have a license can’t use the in-app payment system. Lodsys has started filing lawsuits in an effort to force developers to either license or pay for the service.

There’s lots online about this dust up that’s more than a dust up. If developers have to begin paying for the right to use the software that powers in-app purchasing, and then has to give Apple 30% on top of that, how long before the app economic model starts to dry up and collapses? This certainly is one to watch.

Time, Inc., has announced that it has reached an agreement, with Apple,  that allows Time to give its iPad app to its subscribers free. That’s a marked contrast to earlier Apple guidelines that insisted no publisher could give the app away as an inducement to purchase a subscription.

Time issued a release that explained the arrangement; Apple had no comment.

And that silence leads to two big questions:

  • Will other magazine publishers get the same deal?
  • Will other newspaper publishers get the same deal?

No one knows. Stay tuned.

Okay, so maybe I will try to kick start this sorry blog in the event that there’s someone out there paying attention. If not, well …..

You’ve seen the press reports. The big boys are starting to come out with their Android tablets. Samsung. Motorola. HP. LG. Lenovo. They’re all looking for a piece of the pie.

I’ll talk about what they’ll fail at some other point. But for now, we’ll focus on publishers, who have difficult choices ahead. Unlike the iPad — one device, one operating system, one screen size and resolution — Android comes in a myriad of confusing specs. There’s no one standard; they’re all in different screen sizes, resolutions and operating system, and that means publishers have to do one of two things: (1) find a market-leading an innovative solution so that one application can play across every Android device available or (2) make a bet on one of the manufacturers.

I think (2) is like betting on whether Kansas City or San Diego will win the world series; you can make that bet but you’ll lose. Publishers who want to get in the game in a meaningful way need to bet on a product that goes across every Android device. And they shouldn’t wait. Many of these devices will be out this Fall, and a publisher that starts right this minute has a chance to be out for the Christmas buying season — and this one will explode with the iPad and the Androids.

Those that wait will find themselves behind the curve once again — just like publishing was during the birth of news online, mobile and that iPad thing. Let’s get ahead of the curve for once.

The views expressed in this blog are mine alone

Give Apple credit — its once again quickly cornered the market on a product by hyping it to the point its become a must-have (though few people can tell you why, really). And it looks like Apple’s iPad will stay the dominant tablet for quite some time — certainly though this year, maybe even into next.

The recently concluded consumer electronic show cause much Android buzz. Manufacturers are promising all sorts of devices this year they claim will challenge the iPad for market supremacy.

They’re wrong. Here’s why:

  • Many android devices are killing themselves by joining forces with cellphone companies. In order to buy the Samsung Galaxy — a very well received Android device — who have to also buy a 2-year data plan through Verizon. Why would I do that when I can go month-to-month on the iPad? If other android tabs follow suit and force customers to buy unnecessary data plans, their sales will suffer.
  • The Android tablets will market against themselves as well as the iPad. My tablet has a larger screen size; it’s lighter; it has a better resolution; you can download apps from the Google store; yada yada. So while the up and coming Android tablets flight for market share, Apple will win with a simple message: We were here first. And we’re the best. Now try to beat us
  • Users like familiarity. Apple’s familiar. The new Motorola tablet (whenever that launches) is not. Neither are most of the other tablets coming on to the market.

There are other reasons Apple will win. But these are among the biggest.

 

 

Here’s a roundup of happening in the tablet world:

So Sharp announces it will launch a tablet called Galapagos. It promises it will be really cool, and it promises the price will be competitive.  People will love it and flock to stores to buy so many the factory won’t be able to keep up.

So let me get this straight:

In an ultra-competitive tablet market, Sharp announces a tablet with a name many can’t pronounce, with no price or launch date?

Wow.

I’m really excited about Android tablets. I don’t like the iPad’s lack of flash,
no USB ports and since I don’t have a Mac, don’t like the lack of compatibility.

And I fear, in the end, I may end up buying one.

It looks as if Samsung, being released Sept. 18, and Motorola, possibly coming
in October, are being released through cell carriers. That scares me. While no
one has said so, does that mean the carriers will require data packages and
contracts in order to get the tablets at a reasonable price?

That’s how the cellphone game works. Get a phone that retails for $549 for $99
as long as you sign a two-year contract and buy a  $29.99 a month data plan.
Will carriers try the same trick with tablets — $299 with a data plan but
$699 without? And will they try to force a two-year contract on all tablet
purchases?

If they do that, these android tablets will be dead on arrival.  Consumers are getting sick of being nickled and dimed for every new gadget that hits the market. That consumer frustration helps Apple. The iPad, for all of its flaws, doesn’t require any contracts and users can buy a data plan month-to- month. That’s enough to make me
change my mind and buy one.