Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Le Figaro offers up a pared back news app in preparation for the iPad's launch in France

Last week was Google Week, as the search giant held its annual developer conference, rolling out a series of announcements (Google TV and the Chrome Web Store, for instance). The news will be shifting back to Apple the last half of this week as we begin to see a number of interesting iPad apps launched as Apple prepares to ship their tablet to Europe, Canada and Australia. (Today, Wired released their long-anticipated tablet app. A full report can be found here.)

The new tablet edition of Le Figaro
only can be read in landscape mode.

Le Figaro, the oldest daily newspaper in France, first published in 1826, had its iPad app debut inside the iTunes app store today. Compared to the generally nice app from the financial daily Les Echos, the app from Le Figaro seems like a rushed attempt. For one thing, the 'paper' can only be read in landscape mode. For another, the layouts, as seen in the intro pages, are rather unimaginative.

Nonetheless, once you have paid for your subscription -- the app itself is free, but you must pay a very modest price for a month's worth of issues -- the look and feel improve.

Video can be viewed without leaving the page -- click to enlarge.

The app also uses window-within-window to show video. I prefer this approach so long as an option exists to go to fullscreen.

We'll be seeing apps from different countries quite soon. You can call me naive or silly or whatever, but I find it exciting to be watching this development of a whole new medium and to see the different approaches being used by newspapers and magazines.