Monday, June 21, 2010

Commerce International tablet edition among first iPad news apps released by French developer Forecomm

It is frustrating for someone like myself who has been in the newspaper and magazine publishing industries for the past 30 years to watch as foreign publishers eagerly adopt tablet and mobile media while their American cousins continue to lag behind.
Having said that, however, it doesn't mean that foreign developers are producing innovative apps. Take, for instance, the first couple apps released by French developer Forecomm. Launched in 2007 by Jean Mathieu and Luc Gemo, Forecomm has 145 iPhones app currently in the iTunes store, all but but the latest two are comic books available at a couple bucks a piece.

Now, however, the company has begun releasing free news apps for its clients. The first was a universal for the French magazine Sport. The latest is for Commerce International, a bilingual magazine of business news from Chambers of Commerce from around the world.

The free app delivers a PDF version of the magazine without any interactivity. The app is properly developed as the pages can be swiped and the reader can view the pages in both portrait and landscape. But otherwise the app is a simple flipbook version of the magazine.

The app allows the user to download the latest issue of the magazine, thus allowing offline reading -- though I might add that downloading is extremely slow.

The fault is not the developer, of course, but is once again a result of the lack of imagination of the publisher.

Left: French language version of an article; Right: the English language version of the same article with an ad on the right page.