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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

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.

That’s the question now that Barnes and Noble has announced it will sell its
lowest price e-reader, the Aluratek, for $99. This comes on top of the price
drops for the Kobo, Kindle and Sony products just to name a few.

This all makes sense as the market continues to grow. As e-readers become
cheaper to make, manufacturers can drop price and go after a segment of buyers
who think price, first — and in this economy, who care what the logo says as
long as you get what you want at a price you want to pay?

Does this mean Amazon should be wary? No. The Kindle is a better product and
offers more product than anyone. Their buyers are more likely to be swayed by
product reliability, functionality and depth of offerings. They’ll still be
e-reader king for a long time coming.

But I do wonder: with the Christmas season upon us, will other manufacturers
drop below $99 in an effort to corner that low-priced market?

Fox News — which claims it’s a real news organization and points to its slogan “We report, you decide” — has decided to hire Sarah Palin as a news “commentator.” This is the same Palin who falsely claims that current health care reform bill working its way through Congress contains provisions for death panels. The same Palin who accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” The same Palin who has recently agreed to speak at the first Tea Party convention.

Palin’s politics are fine. Everyone has a point of view, and she has hers. Okay. But it’s one thing to have a stated point of view, and another for an alleged news organization to hire someone so conservative she would make Jim DeMint (R-SC) seem liberal.

It’s time to stop pretending. Call Fox for what it is: a mouthpiece for the right. Apologies to the serious journalists who work there.

The opinions on this blog are mine alone.

Here’s the big wish: a limited anti-trust exemption for publishers.

The industry needs this. Badly. In an era in which technology has changed — and continues to change — information delivery, publishers won’t be able to survive if they can’t get together to discuss how to fairly price their products in this new world.

Right now, publishers can’t do that. They can’t get in a room and set the prices they would charge manufacturers for making content available on e-readers, for example. Instead, manufacturers set the price — and it’s a low ball price that doesn’t reflect the value of the content.

Publishers can’t get together and pick a preferred search engine that would access to all content for a price. Publishers can’t get together and discuss whether pay web sites are a good or bad idea.

Technology has changed everything. It’s time for a small change in the anti-trust statues so publishers can extract fair market value for the content they produce.

The views expressed on this blog are mine alone.

My next column for Newspaper and Technology magazine will take a look at the digital media’s rush to judgement, and how that yearning to be first can do more harm than good.

Competition among journalists is a hallmark of the profession. There’s nothing that the exhilirating feeling of getting a scoop, which is the ultimate reward for cultivating sources.

But there’s a big difference in the scoop mentality today. Just five years ago, the mainstream media could afford to sit on a scoop for a day in order to make sure every fact was iron-clad correct. Even in the days when cities had multiple newspapers, the deadline cycle meant journalists had most of the day to check facts, confirm information, and then check again.

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, with competition from entertainment sites and cable opinion shows, journalists now feel they have to rush to get information out as quickly as they can. This rush to judgement can lead to embrassing mistakes, mistakes that further hurt our credibililty.

I’ll have the full column posted in a few days.

The views expressed on this blog are mine alone.

My saving journalism post from last week has spurred some spirited discussion on the min media group on Linkedin. Check it out, and please ad your thoughts, if the mood hits you.