Friday, August 20, 2010

Printing giant RR Donnelley launches first iPad app; optical industry trade magazine 20/20 hits the app store

Printing giant RR Donnelley has long offered its printing customers electronic publishing solutions to compliment its primary service as printer and distributor, and now the first iPad app has hit iTunes. The app was produced for the B2B optical magazine 20/20, published by Johnson Jobson Medical Information LLC.
The app for 20/20 (iTunes link) is an extension of the flipbooks also produced by RRD. In fact, there is are no differences that I can see. The iPad app does not allow for multi-touch gestures, relying on double tapping the screen to zoom in.

When you open up the free app you are brought to a page containing past issues -- and there are a large number of them available going back to August of last year. At that point you select the issue you want and then are asked if you want to download the issue, or read it "online". Downloading the issue will allow you to read the issue without an Internet connection. But assuming you have WiFi or have the 3G iPad model, you would want to skip downloading since reading the issue online gives you the same experience and loads immediately.

(Strangely, the very last issue can not be read without logging into a 20/20 account -- the only issue that requires this. It also gives you the opportunity to subscribe. Pressing the subscribe button takes you to the issue flipbook in Safari where you have to pay for the issue -- one cent. Yep, one cent.

This is even more bizarre when you realize that apps that list the developer as seller are generally free and don't charge on the backend either. Those that do, like the Time Inc. apps, list Time as the "seller".)

This app, in the end, is well designed for what it is. I encountered no problems downloading or navigating within issues. In other words, it's solid.

Left: Readers have a choice of reading their issue online, or downloading the issue for offline reading.
Middle: The only interactive elements here are links. Pressing a live link brings in a window where web content will be seen, eventually.
Right: The ad index -- bland but essential to the standard B2B magazine.

Readers of TNM know that I am not a fan of flipbooks -- finding them a very un-web experience online, and equally un-tablet on the iPad. So why do flipbooks even exist? They exist because publishers who will not invest in the web needed a way to bring their magazine online and there are plenty of vendors ready to cheaply serve this need. I know of no examples of publishers making profits on their flipbooks, though I'm sure someone can point out a rare example out there. As they say, the exception proves the rule.

So why bring flipbooks to the iPad? Well, it is the same easy solution for publishers, especially B2B publishers who still are having trouble with the web and are very late to the mobile media game. They will also be cheap (if provided by your flipbook vendor), compared with bringing in a third party developer or building your own capabilities. (If this were the late nineties, we might see a publisher like Primedia building app development teams since it could be rationalized that the move would add value to the company for the eventual sale.)

My guess is that these kinds of replica editions will be a big hit with trade publishers. But ultimately the same issues that arise with flipbooks on the web will apply with flipbooks on tablets: low readership, sales team disinterest, a lack of editorial involvement.

So far, however, the most successful tablet products produced have involved lots of work by their editorial and advertising teams. Publishing is hard work, eliminating the work generally eliminates the results.

Updated: Edited to correct typo in the first paragraph.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cellphone makers continue to make their moves into mobile advertising; RIM may want in the game

Goings on in mobile advertising:

Eventually it will be about the advertising -- or at least that is what Apple, Google and RIM appear to believe. Of course, listening to the things coming out of newspaper and magazine conferences you might think that advertising was dead and the future of media will be a content-driven paradise where readers pony up for every sentence written, and where those dirty ad folk will be forever banished to . . . I don't know, maybe Apple, Google and RIM.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that local mobile ad player Millennial Media may be the next ad network company to be gobbled up by a cellphone maker -- this time Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry.
One of those other mobile companies, Quattro Wireless, which was purchased by Apple earlier this year has posted a notice on its website stating that it is all about iAds now.

"We believe iAd is the best mobile ad network in the world, and starting next month we're going to focus all of our resources on the iAd advertising platform. We are no longer accepting new campaigns for the Quattro Wireless Network, and we will soon begin winding down existing campaigns. As of September 30, we will support ads exclusively for the iAd Network," the company writes.

Of course, there has been more than a bit of negative press about Apple's iAds platform, mostly of it centered around Apple's tight controls of both the creative process and metrics.

People magazine releases slow downloading iPad app; once downloaded, though, this app is state-of-the-art

I will admit that People magazine is not my cup of tea, but a new app from Time Inc. is certainly worth looking at in detail -- especially since the other media websites don't seem to download and actually look at the apps they post about.

So I went into iTunes and dutifully downloaded the free iPad app from People. Once installed individual issues will set you back $3.99 per edition. Time Inc. can be pretty much guaranteed that they will receive the same level of vitriol about charging newsstand prices for an electronic product as they have for their other media apps.
The People magazine app, however, does give a bit of love to existing print subscribers, however. Inside the app current subscribers are allowed to sign in and view their issues at no additional cost.

{As an aside, let me add that this situation -- where print subscribers can read their issues for free through an app -- is the reason I think charging a minimal fee for the app is a good idea. Yes, it is a double charge, but iPad owners don't see a 99 cent or $1.99 charge as excessive.}

As a non-subscriber, though, I needed to buy that single issue. Luckily, I have teenage daughters that have on rare occasion purchased a copy of People magazine, so the $3.99 cost might result in actual readership.
But this is where the reader experience went south in a hurry. My iPad processed the purchase with no problem and the issue began its download.

Now being used to purchasing issues like this through using the Zinio newsstand app, I would expected my issue to be available within a minute or two, max.

No. The download time for an issue of People far exceeds the time to takes to read an entire issue. It is painful in the extreme. A half hour later my paid copy of the August 30th edition of People was finally available.

The pain that the reader must endure to actually use this app can, of course, be eliminated with additional bandwidth or server speed on Time's side of the equation. If they do this, readers will find that their issues of People for the iPad are a vastly superior experience to the print edition. In other words, the wait is worth it (I suppose).

OK, let's not even discuss the editorial contents of this magazine -- I am not, nor ever have been the target audience for People. But after being bombarded with weeks of GZM stories I would think that sitting down with this iPad magazine would be a relief.

Not all publishers will have access to all the video and other artwork at the disposal of the editors at People, but they use this added content to great effect. Further, the navigation used for this app is state-of-the-art. Every publisher and editor looking to see what others are doing should go here first.

Finally, advertising: again, the staff has done its work, with ads that have both portrait and landscape designs, as well as added multimedia content.

Left: If you can sit through the download times, eventually you will be rewarded with an actual issue to read -- and your iTunes account will be dinged $3.99.
Middle: What did you expect. glamour shots of Paul Krugman walking around Princeton with his iPad?
Right: Applause for the ad and production staffs as they got their clients to provide portrait and landscape creative and added video, as well.

My guess is that this app from Time Inc. will get both five-star and one-star reviews in iTunes. The pricing model of charging newsstand prices for iPad app just rubs some people the wrong way. But if a print magazine were no longer available on the newsstand would they feel the say way? I doubt it.

Besides, this version of the magazine is a superior experience to print in so many ways that it is hard to argue about the pricing -- especially when print subscribers will have access to this at no additional cost.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Developer of Tour of Utah iPhone app goes iPad in '10

A special shout out to Kevin Hoogheem, the developer of the Tour of Utah iPhone app who this year decided to make this year's app universal so that it can be enjoyed on the iPad -- all his apps remain free to download.
Hoogheem released an app last year for the bike race as well, and this year has an Android app available which he obviously is new at. "Please consider this a BETA release, was done in 4 days,' Hoogheem writes.

None of this really matters to me. The point of all this is simply to point again to a post I wrote very early this year -- a remembrance of Terry McGinnis, a some time colleague, some time competitor, who was one of the best B2B media sales people I've ever know. Terry died just short of a year ago.

In the story in his hometown paper of Salt Lake City the notice of his death never mentions his time at McGraw-Hill or Reed Business Information, but instead talks about his role as executive director of the Tour of Utah. Terry took responsibility for the race in 2007 after there were sponsorship problems.

It is good to see the race continue, and it is good to see someone continue using mobile media to promote the event -- which by the way has already started.

The Deseret News has coverage here. Or, you can download the apps, right?

INMA organizes summit for December in Cambridge; one session is 'Tablets, a Second Life for Newspapers'

The International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) will be holding a summit December 2-3 in Cambridge, Massachusetts with two announced areas of focus: Extracting New Value from Content and Tablets, a Second Life for Newspapers.

The fees are rather high, as they tend to be for these events -- $1200 for both seminars for INMA members, $1,895 for non-members. But the tablet seminar is listed at $795 for non-members on the registration form and on the site -- let's hope that isn't a typo.

In any case, if anyone would like to insure that TNM is represented at the tablet seminar let me know! (Have checkbook out and ready, of course.)

You can download a PDF registration form here.

Tablet market already too large to ignore: major Internet players make accommodations for iPad owners

Yesterday Vimeo announced that its embedded player will now be able to detect mobile users and stream HTML5 content instead of Flash. Late yesterday Yahoo! said (literally) "iPad, therefore I am".

Using its Mail Blog for the news, Yahoo! said that it is launching an HTML5 version of its mail service for the convenience of iPad users.
"If you’ve used our recently launched HTML5 mobile Web mail for iPhone you’ll feel right at home. We’ve kept all the things users love about our new mobile Web mail experience, while also optimizing for the gorgeous large screen of the iPad," wrote Lee Parry, product manager for Yahoo! Mail.

I can think of three reasons why Yahoo! and Vimeo would do this: one, while the iPad has only been out for less than five months it is clear that Apple's iPad already has enough traction that it has created a new market -- further, Apple is committed to the iPad and has decided it will be a core product; two, although the other hardware makers are running far behind Apple, and are desperate to play catch-up, they will indeed be launching their own tablets soon -- having an HTML5 option ready to go makes a lot of sense; three, you simply can not stop the move to HTML5 -- sorry Adobe.

Meanwhile, there is still a significant segment of the media industry trying to swim upstream, arguing that supporting Apple's platform is some sort of betrayal of their newly found philosophies. Good luck with that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sporting News rebrands website as Sporting News Feed; new site incorporates sports video content from CineSport

Sporting News relaunched its website today and rebranded it as Sporting News Feed. The new site will concentrate on breaking news stories in seven core sports: Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, NCAA Basketball and Football, and NASCAR.

The venerable media firm, founded in 1886, also announced that Yahoo! Sports will act as exclusive distribution partner, hopefully driving traffic to the newly branded website.

Sporting News Feed
 features a Flash video
 when first visited.

Jeff Price, president and publisher of Sporting News, had previously said in an interview with TNM that the Sporting News properties would be partnering with CineSport, a company that offers web video syndication of sports highlights. This video content can now be found on the Sporting News Feed.

"Our goal in re-launching and creating Sporting News Feed is to change the way avid fans follow breaking stories–we're re-emphasizing the ‘news’ in Sporting News in a real-time, multi-media approach," said Price in the company's press release. "We're also looking forward to working with CineSport, extending our sales relationship with their industry-leading sports video syndication network to deliver unique video advertising solutions on Sporting News Feed. When sports fans and advertisers think about what we’re doing, it is essentially an ESPNews 2.0 offering on the web for avid fans."

Price told TNM back in May that this video integration would be a big part of any upcoming iPad application. "We will bringing our highlight content, both national and local market content, into the iPad experience -- as well as across every device where we deliver Sporting News Today," Price promises. "So that partnership (with CineSport) becomes a critical component of what we do to improve the overall experience."

The new Sporting News Feed website uses an array of social networking features such as Facebook plug-ins, as well as Twitter and Yahoo! Buzz. “By integrating with Facebook social plugins, Sporting News is providing sports enthusiasts with a customized experience and real-time updates on the latest news in sports,” said Justin Osofsky, who handles media partnerships for Facebook.

PublishThis, an on-demand content publishing platform, is providing custom built tools for the Sporting News editors to aggregate and curate additional sports news to complement the media outlets own staff reporting.

Nationwide Insurance is acting as launch-day sponsor, running a medium rectangle on the home page.

Sporting News has been working with Zinio to create a free, then paid, web product called Sporting News Today. While that product is no longer on the main website, it is still available within the Zinio newsstand for both the web and the iPad -- $2.99 for a months worth of morning e-editions. Plans are still on track to launch a separate iPad app that brings in the new video content within a few weeks, according to the company.

Sporting News was acquired by American City Business Journals in September 2006. Jeff Price, formerly the head of digital for Sports Illustrated, was named publisher of Sporting News in February of this year.

Wired jumps the shark

In what must be a Wag the Dog moment designed to drive traffic, Wired's editor Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff team up to publish a story that loudly proclaims (hold on, here it comes) The Web is Dead!

OK, it must be a joke, right? Sadly, no.
The traffic driving effort has worked out pretty well so far: over 2400 retweets, though only 41 comments to date (though how many times do you need to read comments about the lamentable state of American journalism?).

But in one of the better responses to the story, Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing took apart the Wired story and then created a chart that shows the actual growth of Internet traffic (which I have reproduced here, clicking the chart takes you to their story).

Media outlets waking up to News Corp. donation story

It appears that a few media outlets are beginning to discover the BusinessWeek story concerning the $1 million donation to the Republican Governor's Association by News Corp. The donation makes the media giant the single largest contributor to the organization.

The original story was posted on the BusinessWeek site just after midnight yesterday and it certainly was an eye opener. (Since early yesterday this site has linked to the story in the Short Takes section seen every day in the upper right hand corner of this site.)

The New York Times Media Decoder blog posted a recap of the story just after 1PM today after several other outlets including Media Matters hyped the story.

According to the Times blog post a News Corp. spokesman has issued a statement stating "News Corporation has always believed in the power of free markets, and organizations like the R.G.A., which have a pro-business agenda, support our priorities at this most critical time for our economy."

Ben Smith of Politico was one of the first to pick on the story, writing his post yesterday, and updated his post with the quote above. The Huffington Post then followed up early today on its site which has generated almost 6,000 comments as of the time of this post.

But with the Washington Post's Rachel Weiner posting a story about this shortly before noon today, it appears other outlets' hands were forced.

Pack journalism: it isn't really news until the big boys say it is. But I'm sure this story will fade quickly so the media can go back to talking about the plans to build a community center in NYC.

Vimeo the latest to go HTML5; new embedded player will play videos on iPhones and iPads, as well as websites

The video site Vimeo has introduced a universal player that users can embed on their sites that will automatically detect the device being used and will stream the proper format. As a result, users can insure that their readers will be able to view the content even if seen on an iPhone or iPad.
The embed code is actually the same as the old code, though in this case the device sniffing allows for the proper streaming to take place. YouTube is working on the same concept and currently has a beta program to test out its own version.

It appears that the time when video content would not appear on a user's iPad will be ending soon.

Short takes: launches modest iPhone apps to match website; PageSuite produces "replica" editions for UK publishers; the publisher-developer relationship

The DC area start-up launched by Allbritton Communications has launched its first mobile apps, moving quickly into the space shortly after its website launched. The free apps mirror their website in that the apps are simple and clean, don't contain much of interest, but do not offend.
The mobile app does not use maps to handle the local traffic instead goes for a text version that has a second window that reports on traffic incidents. I suppose this works, but the quick and easy way Google Maps shows slow traffic has its merits. If you casually looking to see traffic conditions ahead of a trip out the door, the text method might be preferred. But if you were in your car and wanted to see a quick view of traffic then maps are better -- Google Maps also will show you where you are right now so you can see what's ahead. Both methods work, though the map method is "more native" to smartphones.
I'm not terribly enthusiastic about though I am thrilled to see a start-up in the space. The editorial staff already looks newspaper-like with 39 people already listed under editorial -- though to be fair, this includes the TV team, as well.

In comparison, the ad team lists three names.

I have to assume and its mobile apps for iPhone and Android are targeting the plus-60 crowd as the app features their weather blogs -- "yessiree, it sure is hot today" -- very exciting stuff -- and the website has fonts so large you can read the site from the kitchen.

Advice when using this app: don't forget to put your teeth in just in case someone calls and wants to use FaceTime.

As Frank Burns from M*A*S*H* might say about app developers "you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one!" There seems to be more and more third party app developers out there waiting to sell to publishers.
A new one to me is PageSuite Limited which has a number of iPhone apps in iTunes for UK publishers and has now launched its second iPad app, this one for Kent newspapers called Kent News for iPad.

PageSuite calls their apps "scrollable replica editions" which tells you all you need to know about their goals -- exact copies of the print editions with a few iPad features thrown in to assist reading. These would include multi-touch controls which greatly improve the reading experience.

I would prefer creating an iPad-native layout and feeding in the content using RSS feeds, but this does work, and for those looking to duplicate the newspaper reading experience this is probably the right solution.

Strangely, this app is free, while PageSuite's other iPad app for the Daily Express will set you back $7.99 (£4.99). What's the business model?

There are not many reviews inside the U.S. iTunes store, but the UK store has a large number of complaints concerning these apps crashing. This didn't occur on my iPad, though the app did seem to take forever to launch. Unfortunately, these user complaints appear to extend to the company's iPhone apps, as well. The mobile app for The Scotsman, for instance, has a number of crash complaints.

If it seems as if I've posted a number of negative app comments recently (and today) it is simply because I am reflecting not only my own views but also those of users within iTunes. When choosing a developer, especially one that has been working with other publishers it is important to get references. Those references can be obtained by making a few calls, but they are also there for the whole world to see within iTunes.

Of course, just like forums of computer users, those that post often are experiencing problems and want to complain about them. For instance, no goes up on the Apple discussion board to say their Mac booted up as normal this morning. Likewise, who has anything to say about a mobile news app that launches quickly then delivers you the headlines?
Nonetheless, there are a lot of bad news apps out there -- as well as a number of pretty mediocre ones. The good news is that apps can be updated, redesigned and relaunched. The bad news is that a really bad app is likely to get deleted and the user lost forever.

The app above is a good example: the Globe and Mail's iPad app from Spreed which I looked at when it was launched in late July. My biggest complaint about the app was that the developer did not include the ability to use multi-touch gestures like pinch and zoom to make the reading experience better. Instead, Spreed offers the ability of the user to change font sizes -- nice but cumbersome.

The app was updated fairly quickly, fixing a number of bugs that readers complained about. This is a good sign, though as the screenshot shows, stories tend to take a long time to load.

Readers are patient, however, as evidenced by the most recent reviews: a few complaints, but they are happy to have access to their Globe and Mail.

So finding a developer that will respond quickly to reader complaints is essential. While I would prefer creating in-house capabilities (if we're talking about a larger media firm), but finding an outside developer that is willing to frequently update and improve your app is certainly a good alternative.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Herman Leonard, great jazz photographer, dead at 87

Very sad news at the end of the day: Herman Leonard, one of the greatest jazz photographers died Saturday. His death was reported on his website today. He was 87.

Leonard's Billie Holiday from 1949.
(Courtesy Herman Leonard Estate) 

Like many great photographers, his work is more known than the man. His shots of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis or Billie Holiday are recognized worldwide.

Leonard had recently moved to Los Angeles after his New Orleans home had been flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a flood that destroyed thousands of his prints.

NPR will be airing a report on All Things Considered this evening. You can find a transcript on the website and audio will be posted there later this evening.

NYT property, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, institutes metered paywall; most of the content remains free

Stating that a "new day dawns for the Telegram & Gazette" publisher Bruce Gaultney and editor Leah Lamson announced Sunday on the newspaper's website that the New York Times Co. property has constructed its very own metered paywall.

Starting today, web readers who are not subscribers to the newspaper will have access to 10 local news stories a month for free before being asked to pay a monthly charge of $14.95, or $1 per day. Web readers will have to register to gain access, effectively closing off the site to those who casually surf over to the site -- following a link, for instance.
Current print subscribers will continue to enjoy free and complete access.

The newspaper currently offers new subscribers to fee of $83.98 for 26 weeks of home delivery -- or the equivalent of $14 per month, meaning that web-only access will cost readers more than receiving the print newspaper plus having web access.

At least one reader responded positively in the comments to the post: "It's about time! All newspapers should be charging for their online content."

Nonetheless, the vast majority of comments were negative, some accusing the paper of being treated as "a guinea pig (by the NYT parent company) to see if readers are willing to pay to read online content. This 'experiment' will only end in failure."

Some readers accused the editors of deleting comments.

Despite the metered paywall, much of the content on the news site is, and will remain, free to access. Breaking news, wire news stories, obituaries, blogs, ads (of course), photo galleries and videos, as well as the newspaper's own weekly products will remain accessible without paying or registering on the site.

Guess: few will register or pay because so much much of the content remains outside the metered paywall. Both advocates and critics of paywalls will probably not find this a good test of their positions -- but we'll see.

Note: This story was accidentally posted earlier when Blogger went a little crazy and posted the previous story ahead of schedule. I deleted the earlier version of this story for posting now.

Newsday goes tablet; yet another "iPad won't save magazines" story, this one from the WSJ

Newsday has released its initial iPad app and to be honest it's not half bad. Now I know that is a hell of a way to start a look at a news app, but I will admit that after Newsday's rather deficit attempt at a paywall online I was not looking for Newsday to impress me with a decent tablet app. They have.
Newsday is not reinventing the tablet newspaper, but they have made subtle changes to their iPhone app that makes it work well on the iPad. The app allows for both portrait and landscape reading and integrates video very well. The story you see here -- why this is their lead story is another question -- has a little arrow that indicates that there is video content to accompany their story (maybe that is why they chose it, though if so it was a silly choice).
The navigation is good and the scrolling makes sense.

The app itself is free to download, but it is clear that Newsday will eventually charge for access to the content writing that "Access to subscriber-only content available to all for a limited time only." There is an asterisk on that last sentence, but it doesn't refer to anything below -- a possible error.

The app comes with weather and traffic cams, as well as article sharing through social networking sites. The promise of up-to-the-minute sport scores is nice, especially for high school sports.
The mention of traffic cams got me thinking about Newsday's iPhone app, because this feature is not mentioned in the iTunes description of the app. But the iPhone come with the feature which is much more useful on a smartphone anyway. The survey I mentioned this morning in this post, shows that -- at least in the UK -- most iPad owners keep their tablets around the house rather using them as a mobile device. The iPad, therefore, is a mobile device mostly because it uses an OS designed for mobile devices rather than because this is actually how it is used.

In any case, the iPhone app also says that it will offer content for free for a limited time. The app was released July 15th.

Finally,both the new iPad app and the iPhone app ask if they can push breaking news notices to the user, an acceptable use of the notifications capabilities of the devices, though I would probably decine it for the iPad app, and approve it for my iPhone.

I must have had Newsweek on my mind as I worked on this post about Newsday. I even named the photo files "Newsweek" bu mistake. Then I went into iTunes to check on something and again made the same mistake, typing in Newsweek.

That brought me to the Newsweek iPad app, so I checked to see how iPad owners have responded to it. Oh my. I think the new owners of the news weekly may want to use this ownership transfer as an opportunity to start over. Ouch.

Make it stop!

Yet another article starts with the question "Will tablets save the magazine business?" (there are even more that ask "will tablets save the newspaper business?), and answers the same way -- no.

This one is from Peter Kafka of the WSJ and is just as ridiculous as the others. The reason is simple: the only ones asking the question are the same ones posing it. Kafka asks the silly question as a way of starting out a post that looks at Next Issue Media's report Hulu for Magazines (link to PDF).

Will radio save records sales? will tv save radio? Will reporters ever get it? (OK, that last one is a good question.)

Here is an excerpt:

"iPad magazines and similar stuff will generate $3 billion in advertising and circulation revenue in 2014, assuming that the market expands beyond Apple (AAPL) to include Google and other competitors. But after you account for print dollars the digital versions will cannibalize, that nets out to $1.3 billion in incremental revenue," writes Kafka.

Kafka then points out that Time Inc. generated $900 million in "the last quarter alone", presumably proving some kind of point about the tablet and print publishing. Of course, GM's revenue was $33.2 billion last quarter, I guess that means everyone should abandon magazines and start building cars.

Never mind that the survey itself comes to the complete opposite conclusion and is far more comprehensive: "To realize the revenue potential, publishers will need to create new interactive products; offer a large library of cross-sold interactive titles; develop innovative subscription packages; find mutually beneficial partnerships with leading OEMs; carefully define future advertising standards and metrics; and fundamentally rethink internal workflows, capabilities and organization," a press release relates.

“The landscape for digitally distributing magazines and newspapers is about to rapidly change,” Martin Kon, partner and head of the global media and entertainment practice at Oliver Wyman, is quoted. “Our Future Marketplace Simulation shows significant consumer enthusiasm for interactive periodicals that offer enhanced features, personalization, multimedia content and optimized layout and navigation.”

Nonetheless, while I love the research now being done on mobile and tablet usage, it is way too premature to evaluate acceptance of the devices for media. The equivalent would be asking 1800 people in 1440 about the future of printing.

Here's the bottom line, though: the question has never been, will never be, if the iPad will save some old medium, it is whether tablets will create a new one worth investing in.

"Chrome to phone" the kind of feature that advances Android; app allows users to push links to their phones

Covering the Android platform is difficult when you are an iPhone owner. The biggest advantage the iPhone remains its centralized construction where a quick look inside iTunes can tell you what is new and interesting.

But I have always said that publishers should have a dual track concerning development -- creating for iOS first, but making sure Android is covered, as well. Long term -- and maybe short term, as well -- the Android platform will be dominate, though I have my doubts about "superior".

But new features like this one from Google certainly makes me jealous of Android owners. This new "Chrome to phone" extension allows users of Google's Chrome browser to send links directly to their Android phones. The simple features ends up having almost endless applications. Users, for instance, can click a link to send a web address to their Android phones -- simple enough. But a click of a phone number sends that number to your phone ready to be dialed, a simple way of making your computer into a phone itself. Here's a look:

The Apple OS doesn't currently offer something this elegant. There is a paid app inside iTunes called Pastebot that is somewhat similar but the app will cost you $3.99 and it forces the user to transfer data via WiFi, though reviewers inside iTunes seem to love the app. Look for Apple to either create their own version of this or else buy out the developer.

Study shows that iPad owners (in the UK) prefer their tablets when reading newspapers and magazines

They bought it because the promise was a new way to read newspapers, magazines and books, while still being able to surf the web, play games, and manage their e-mails. Now, four months after its launch, a survey by Cooper Murphy Webb of UK iPad owners shows that owners prefer their tablets when reading, as well as gaming and surfing the web.

While some media consultants continue to advice their readers and clients against developing for the iPad, the media world is shifting, having finally found a suitable substitute for print.

Notice that I said "substitute" as opposed to "replacement". Some commentators continue to see the rise of tablets as a zero sum game, where print is destined to die and must be replaced with something. But that is a narrow view. Print is certainly declining, but the ability to read magazines and newspapers on your tablet does not mean that that same consumer will be incapable, or unwilling, to buy a newspaper at a subway station (as an example).

The survey by the UK based copywriting company of 1,034 iPad owners in the UK showed that owners of the iPad preferred their tablets for all types of "print" media, while still saying their their laptop or desktop computers are still their primary entertainment device.
Thirty-one percent of iPad owners surveyed said that their new tablets were preferred when reading newspapers and magazines, while 24 percent still preferred print. Twenty-six percent said they preferred reading them on their computers, showing that the move to electronic versions of print is very far advanced -- at least for the early adopters of tablets.

You can read the read more about the study and see more charts here.