Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Philadelphia papers to subsidize Android tablet to attract subscribers

If you can't get 'em to sign up for a digital subscription, give 'em a device they can use to view the digital subscription. Or at least, subsidize it, which is what the Philadelphia Media Network, parent company of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com is doing.

On Monday, the company officially announced its program to subsidize Android tablets for subscribers. The details on the tablet are as follows: price will be as low as $99 assuming a two-year digital subscription to both The Inquirer and The Daily News, which cost $9.99 per month each, or for a combined $12.99 per month together.

The tablet will be an Arnova 10 G2, a 10.1" (1024 x 600) tablet. Arnova is Archos' international brand. The tablet will have a 1 GHz Rockchip RK2918 processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), 4GB of onboard storage, forward-facing VGA chat camera, and support for Adobe Flash.

The screen will be capacitive touch, but reportedly only support two points of contact.

It will also come pre-loaded with (what else?) the new Philadelphia Inquirer Android app. The tablet goes up for sale on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Additionally funding for the program (i.e. sponsorship) comes from Main Line Health, Comcast Corporation, and Wells Fargo.

Henri Crohas, President of Arnova, said “We are proud to partner with the Philadelphia Media Network on this opportunity to take media and the consumption of it to the next level. This is a partnership that both brands can be proud of as we both continue to push the boundaries of technology with the goal of improving everyday life.”

Save up to 90% on Textbooks, plus Free Shipping at BarnesandNoble.com!This is a move that many have said Android tablets need to do to compete with the iPad. Surveys have shown that when consumers think tablet, they really think iPad. Subsidies may be the only way for tablets with other platforms, at least for now, to differentiate themselves.

After all, the HP TouchPad, the company's webOS tablet, only took off when HP instituted fire sales prices ($99 and $149) after it decided to halt hardware webOS development.

One problem with these tablets is that they run Gingerbread, not the tablet optimized Honeycomb, so they are decidedly inferior to devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Motorola Xoom.  They aren't the best representatives for Android tablets, if adoption of Android tablets is what these companies want to foster.

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