Monday, November 22, 2010

Asahi Shimbun launches English language edition for the iPad; technical issues make app extremely difficult to use

An English language version of Asahi Shimbun has been launched for the iPad, and while the app is free to download, a subscription is required to access full content.
AJW (Asahi Japan Watch) brings news from Japan to English language customers who are also iPad owners. The 30-day subscription for access to content is $9.99, rather a steep price unless you have a special business reason to want access to this level of news.

I love the idea of this app -- a specialty product that will really expand the knowledge of those who need to keep up to date with happenings in Japan (or who have a fetish for Japanese baseball). But sadly, this app has two major faults: 1) when the app opens it immediately downloads (slowly) the content for the latest edition, even if you have previously opened the app; and 2) I got error messages occasionally when attempting to open the app, these occurred when the app could not successfully download the content.

To solve these issues, an upgrade should include the ability to download new content after the app has opened to the previous content. This would allow for offline reading. In its current configuration, a user could not access this app on a plane, for instance, unless they were flying on one of the carriers currently offering Wi-Fi service.