Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Belgian newspaper iPad apps show the wide range of possibilities of the tablet platform

I've come to the sad conclusion that there is not much innovation coming from American newspaper publishers compared to their European brethren. The Europeans may complain and whine about Apple's App Store policies but they seem to then move on and produce some interesting apps. American publishers meanwhile seem determined to take the easy way out by leaving app creation to their vendors.
Two new newspaper iPad apps from Belgium are good examples of how publishers in Europe seem to get that the iPad can create some interesting new opportunities.

La Libre Belgique is a free app from the French language newspaper. Inside readers gain access to news from the website as well as a PDF version of the newspaper. Lastly, the app also lets you listen to radio station Twizz.

The cost to access the newspaper is $0.99 per day or $11.99 per month.

In contrast to La Libre, the Dutch language newspaper app that serves the Flemish community, De Standaard HD now supports Apple's Newsstand thanks to its recent update.
The app lets reader choose between a tablet edition and a replica of the print version. The app is free while requiring an in-app purchase to access the content.

The idea of combining a native designed tablet edition with a replica of the print edition is interesting, and would seem to me to be the way to go for vendors who now only push replicas.

The De Standaard HD app continues to get negative reviews inside the Belgian App Store from users who complain about the app being buggy, while praising it's overall design. The Le Libre Belgique app is brand new and therefore has far less reviews from Belgian buyers, but so far the reviews are all positive.