Several new tablet editions grabbed my attention this morning but I couldn't get myself to write about them, for one reason or another. CEPro, from EH Publishing, would be a natural tablet edition for me to look at as it is B2B – but the app is a replica edition, produced by Superior Media Solutions, so it offers nothing new for publishers already familiar with this approach to the tablet platform. The Weekly Standard also has a new tablet edition which looks native – it comes from OPUBCO Communications Group. But the problem with this new app is that it promises a free issue in the app description, but not so in the app itself, and if you think I'm going to pay to read William Kristol, well, that's not happening.
That left the new digital magazine Eco traveller as the logical choice to write about. The free app was released last month, and today Alban Bizet, who is credited with design in the tablet magazine, left a comment on this site pointing to their app.
The app comes from Focus Media Communications Ltd., a UK company that says it is an "an Independent company, offering communications services worldwide." That would lead one to believe that this is a custom publishing project, but there is very little information that supports that as the website created for the magazine offers little information on the digital magazine beyond links to the Apple App Store, as well as Amazon and Google Play.
The app I looked at is the iOS app, of course – good for both the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad. The iPhone version is not optimized for the iPhone 5. In fact, the fragmentation of the iPhone platform with the larger display of the "5" does create both design and development issues for magazine publishers wanting a magazine-like experience on the device.
The app and its contents are free of charge, and the app is native in both design and navigation, as you can see in the video below. The download is pretty painfully slow, so it is not exactly airport WiFi friendly in that area.
The tablet app has not gotten a lot of attention, which is no doubt why TNM got the comment today. But it is really the company's own fault. Neither the supporting website nor the magazine itself gives you an idea of the mission of the magazine, or those behind it.
But as you'll see in the video, it is an interesting looking digital magazine. It makes a good comparison with TRVL which takes a more minimal approach to both design and editorial content, while emphasizing the photography. TRVL's team is also quite adept at promoting itself and its digital magazine, something that will come in handy when they launch their own digital publishing platform, PRSS.
Here is a short walk-through the one issue of Eco traveller to be found in the new Newsstand application. The issue is dated October and numbered #00. The app was last updated on November 28 and for now the app description does not tell us when we can expect its next issue.