Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Calendar starting to fill up: App Stores, Tablets, digital newsstands, and more in the works for this year

Got your new calendar ready? Well, here are some dates that you might want to make note of:

January 6: The Consumer Electronics Show starts on this day and runs through Sunday the 9th. Look for new tablets from Toshiba that run Google's Android platform. The theme of the show will definitely be "is there are iPad killer tablet?" -- a favorite topic of discussion among tech writers. Right now there are over a dozen manufacturers set to launch, or preview, Android tablets at CES so there is bound to be a good one out there, right?
RIM will no doubt be playing up its Blackberry Playbook tablet at CES. Will they announce a launch date?

This is also the day that Apple is launching its new Mac App Store on this date and while most developers of media apps may take a pass at developing for the desktop it will be interesting to see is anybody looks at this as yet another opportunity to distribute their content.

January 17: supposedly this is the day that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. launches its new tablet daily. I'm not as sure about this date as the WSJ but who cares, its coming, and its coming soon. The question on many publisher's minds, though, is will Apple modify its subscription policies at this time, as well.

Some time in January: the New York Times promises (threatened?) to launch its metered paywall in January. Does the paper regret making this promise? Will they regret it? This may end up being a non-event if the metered paywall ends up being so loose as to let virtually all its web readers continue to read free of charge.

Late January: Last year on Wednesday the 27th Apple unveiled the iPad. The event disappointed many media observers. I suppose it was hard for Apple's CEO Steve Jobs to outdo his legendary iPhone introduction of 2007. But the naysayers were proved wrong as it is estimated that Apple will have easily surpassed the ten million mark in sales for its new tablet.

While Apple is a very secretive company, it is pretty predictable in its product cycles: new iPhones in the summer, new iPods in the Fall, etc. Look for Apple to have an event sometime in late January to unveil iPad deux. Some think will say that the newest version of their tablet will be available for ordering immediately -- we'll see -- but it is unlikely that buyers will have to wait ten weeks for their new tablets to arrive as they did in 2010.

End of the first quarter: RIM promises that their BlackBerry Playbook will be ready by the quarter's end; look for the first Android tablet apps to launch from media companies; will Apple or Google launch a successful digital newsstand? what else?

Here are some things that seem to be missing: whatever happened to Penguin Books app efforts? Right now Penguin Group USA has only three apps for the iPad in the App Store; native tablet apps from mobile developers, the many developers of apps for newspapers for the iPhone appear to have punted on the iPad, or else have launched some pretty horrendous tablet editions; The Guardian launched an early (and good) iPad app, its photography app, The Guardian Eyewitness, but nothing for the newspaper itself -- well, its coming in 2011, as well as new version of its mobile app.