Friday, December 28, 2012

TNW Magazine: Publisher says the next issue will be the last build for the Android platform, at least for now

The co-founder of The Next Web has let TNM know that the next issue of their digital magazine, TNW Magazine (iTune link) will be that last built for the Google Play store. The next issue, v0.12, is being produced now, but the following issue, v1.1, will be for iOS only.

"The platform is just less developed," Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten said, referring to the Android platform. "We did, however, give it a try after getting a lot of requests for it."

The Android app description states that the app, which is built using the Mag+ platform, "is optimized for the Google Nexus 7. Other Android tablets are supported, use on your own regard." (sic)

The Android app has been generally well received inside Google Play, though there are only 46 reviews written to date with the main complaint being issues with various Android tablets. There are 167 reviews for the universal iOS version inside the Apple App Store, the vast majority of which are five-star.
Goodbye Android?

"We are seeing one Android reader for every 80 iOS users. We might try again next year when more Android tablets are being sold but right now it seems like an easy market to ignore," Veldhuijzen van Zanten told TNM.

According to a draft announcement to appear on the TNW website, the website's co-found says "We tried an Android magazine, and found out it just isn’t worth the effort. Does that mean that Android sucks? Ehm, no, and there is no reason to tell us how cool Android is in the comments, because we understand it is. It just means that with the current state of technology and the way the market is divided we can’t afford to invest in it anymore."

One of the biggest hang ups, besides download numbers, is the time needed to produce the Android version, 3 to 4 days versus just a couple of hours needed to convert the iPad version into the iPhone edition, according to the publisher.
The TNW Magazine app, being universal, supports not only the two versions of the iPad, but also the iPhone and iPod touch with its two different display sizes. With Android, that means the web property is supporting four different formats with its tablet-only magazine.

With the Mag+ platform the typical cost to produce a single platform app that will have Newsstand support is $399 per month, according to the vendor's website. There is an added charge of $99 or $199 per month to add support for one or more other devices.

Update: The Next Web's own story on their decision can be found here. The comments, in particular, are interesting. My only question would be this, though: if all these Android users didn't know TNW even had a tablet-magazine for the Android platform, why are they upset now that TNW won't be building one for Android anymore?


Unknown said...

You made this program only made For Apple products. The reason you can't make something for other devices like the Android is your lack of understanding how to integrate a program to work on all except the IOS. I've seen many developers create many programs for all devices because they want not only to make a profit but to show other developers and designers it can be done.

Anonymous said...

What a lame excuse, simply nonsense. If they want to support Apple, as is the content of the magazine so be it, they don't need to make such statements about the platforms. Look for example at Zinio, Engadget and others, real examples of nice magazines apps.

Anonymous said...

Sad! I guess, I'll just have to read other magazines.

It, a kind of, sounds like a convenient excuse. It might be interesting to see the iOS downloads pattern/growth for the same initial period as Andriod had...

Unknown said...

I thought proprietary online services bit the dust when AOL first opened a gateway to the non-proprietary Internet back when the dinosaurs still walked the Earth. I was a direct ISP customer literally the day after Digital Express (later Digex) started offering service where I lived (in Maryland), and never wanted to go back (and never DID go back) to a proprietary online service.

I have an HTC Android phone that couldn't read The Last Web's Android version. (Note that I do *not* call it "The Next Web" because it's obviously not.) Apparently the vast majority of other Android devices couldn't, either.

Isn't it weird to require a tablet to read a publication, instead of making it available to people with all kinds of computing devices? And then, specific brands of tablet? Oh, come on.

The chance that "The Next Web" is going to be based on a series of proprietary apps is about 0.

But whatever. I have my beliefs, they have theirs.

Unknown said...

Looking at the comments on their article and I see this pop up all the time "I had no idea you offered a magazine on android." I must say though you can't complain about the fact you can't bring content to an open audience because you use a proprietary media source like iTunes. That would be like me saying "I can't sell you this gasoline powered car because your town does not have a natural gas fill up station." Cost issues a side you can't expect people to buy into a product that you don't advertise. Maybe a better idea is use a software that is cheaper and friendlier than ignore one of the biggest audience of users the world has known.

Tamjit said...

Well, 56 reviews with rating of 3.9 seems to be a good score to me. The key is to be realistic with expectations and commit to the platform like you did initially for iOS.

Tablazines said...

Richard Miller stated:
"Isn't it weird to require a tablet to read a publication, instead of making it available to people with all kinds of computing devices? And then, specific brands of tablet? Oh, come on. "

Actually no it's not. The dimensions of a tablet are more like that of an actual magazine than a smart phone.

While there are magazines that run on both smartphones and tablets... the smartphone version is created simply for marketshare... the tablet is the OPTIMAL reading device.

wreichard said...

"...why are they upset now..."

Trust me when I say most people never ask this question. They just assume it's some kind of "irrational" response from Android users.

I am agnostic about devices. I could write pages about the various OSs and devices I've used (and loved), including iOS. But TNW's decision aggravates me tremendously, partly because their justification of how easy it is to use Apple's proprietary universe of content and subscribers. To me, that's terrible news for the future of the web and of mobile technology in general, and it's not what TNW stood for, I believed.

TNW can say the website is equally accessible to all platforms. True, but if that's the case, then what's the need for a separate magazine edition at all? It's something nicer, something better, and by their own rationale, it takes resources away from other things (such as reporting on non Apple-centric developments). It's self-fulfilling.

There's plenty of iTunes sales material out there already. That's why I'm upset, and why I won't be reading TNW anymore in any form.

Anonymous said...

If you read their reasons carefully rather than just reacting, one of the issues they claim is the diversity of the Android platform.

The Standards by which Apple impose, which Android users hate, does have some benefits it some cases and in others it doesn't.

Simply put there are trade offs. Just as there is in life. Anarchy vs Dictatorship. Benevolent dictatorships may suit unless your at the wrong end.

Anonymous said...

I never heard of TNW until someone felt they had to show me their article about ceasing the Android version of their magazine.

So, I'm not upset about them doing this - mostly because I've never heard of them. Meanwhile, Engadget, Verge, ZDNet and others keep cranking out their Android apps and Engadget has their magazine (Distro) that's quite good on Android.

So, fellow-Android users - don't mourn - go to Engadget and see how it's done right...

PS: As many have noted - the problem with TNW is that they start with a pure iOS version, then try to brute force it into an Android app version. Anyone who honestly thinks this is a good way to go cross-platform is either an idiot, or an Apple fanboi.