The Tribune Co. announced they will be looking into a tablet deal with their news publications. The idea is if you subscribe to one of their many papers (Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, LA Times, upon many others), you could be eligible for a tablet to get a digital paper.
This is the sound of wind changing…
The tablet would be a modified version of Android that would cater to the specific paper you subscribe to. You would probably get a multi-year subscription with this deal. Since it’s not finalized, the details are not complete. It is even possible that you would sign a subscription to not only the paper of your choice but also a 3G or 4G solution so you could read said paper.
Recommendation: Please Make a Tablet I can Use…
Although you won’t get an iPad, you should also not get a tablet that has little to no power. A standard $499 tablet has 1GHz processor (or dual core processor), 512 MB of internal memory, 16 GB of storage and enough video memory to run a movie at 720p. Tribune should follow these guidelines best they can. If I get a tablet that I cannot use or is way too slow, I won’t use it.
Also, please don’t nail it down to your content. I want to be able to browse the web and get things done. If your tablet only accesses specific information, I’ll either never use the tablet or try to jailbreak it so I can use it.
Add 8 MP Camera, Microphone and your Subscribers Could Become Reporters
This would be the hidden feature of the tablet. If you put in a decent camera or front-facing camera, people could take pictures, record face-to-face interviews and submit them to Tribune media sources. They could easily become the next wave of reporters to these papers. Photos of events would be in abundance because they use the Tribune branded tablet. They could write up blurbs and Geocaching could record location.
No Data Mining or Ads, Please…
When you get a “Free computer” in the past, there was always a limitation of ads on the top of the screen or reports of companies collecting data when you use it. While you want to know if someone is using said tablet, please keep in mind that subscribers will revolt if items are shoved down their throats or if they find out you are collecting their information without knowledge. Make sure they opt-in first.
The next wave of newspapers is coming soon. With the switch to tablets, Tribune Co. can stay on the game. Companies like USA Today and Wall St. Journal need to follow this idea. Even local papers could benefit from creating a subscription model with a free tablet, once the price is right.