Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Norway's Aftenposten releases its first tablet edition; arrives a few days after the iPad 2 went on sale in Europe

Last Friday Apple launched sales of the iPad 2 in 25 additional countries. One of those countries was Norway where buyers there, according to bloggers, are being charged some of the highest prices found for the new version of Apple's tablet (click here to see a price chart).
Norway's largest daily newspaper, Aftenposten (The Evening Post), has used the occasion to release its first iPad app. The free app grants access to a natively designed news app, somewhat of a cross between the NYT and apps like NPR or CNN.

Aftenposten, the print newspaper, produces two editions daily: its morning edition has a circulation around 240,000, and its evening edition has a circulation of around 130,000 -- and, yes, both editions are called Aftenposten. The paper is distributed in Oslo and the surrounding areas.

Once the user downloads the new app and it is installed, the user is greeted with a "news globe" on the splash page similar to the ABC News app -- don't panic, it is only decoration. The app then moves to a registration page where the user must submit their email address to continue.

The message on the page is that the user will have free access for a limited time. The app desciption (in Norwegian, of course) also is truthful in the limited time free access.

Left: the splash page; Middle: the user registration page; Right: a typical article showing the font size management and the scrolling - click to enlarge.

The app description is very well done, and complete. It informs readers that they will have access to the morning paper from 6AM and the afternoon paper by 4PM. It mentions the multimedia content to be found such as audio and video, as well as slideshow, and it gives the reader basic navigation instruction.

It also gives credit to the newspaper's development partner: Making Waves, a Norwegian company, despite its English language name.

I've kept this app on my iPad in order to follow it as the newspaper company moves from offering free access to a paid subscription model. Because the app is so new, there are no reviews inside the Norwegian App Store at this point, so it will be difficult to know the impression the app is making with native readers. But I'm certainly impressed with the good start the publisher has made.
The newspaper also has a smartphone app as well, Aftenposten for iPhone, as well another called Aftenposten Quiz which is a paid app. (Both links are to the Norwegian App Store, though both apps can be found in the US store, as well.)

Here is the promotion video produced for the launch of the app: