Digiday highlights USA Today’s approach to app development. USA Today is the only “big 3” publisher (WSJ, NY Times, USA Today) to not charge for content on any device, relying exclusively on advertising:
Newspapers are experimenting with different ways of distributing content on tablets. When it comes to mobile, most publications rush to replicate their content via an app. USA Today is thinking different.
USA Today is betting on an adaptive experience that morphs with the device. While there’s no dynamic personalization based on user behavior or any type of intelligence, the articles served up on the iPad vary from person to person. For example, I read USA Today sports stories, and my colleague reads tech and advertising stories. In turn, more sports stories appear in my app than in my colleague’s app, and she therefore receives more tech and advertising stories.
“We don’t create for the paper and port to the mobile,” said Matt de Ganon, vp of mobile product and operations. “We create content, and it gets certain finite production on the digital properties; it’s a fluid experience of, here is the format that works best, and here is the subset of content that works best on smartphone, or here’s the context of tablet.”
Digiday points out 3 mobile apps created by publishers that go above and beyond just recreating the web & print experience (look, feel, layout, content). You know, actual innovation on the mobile front:
Unfortunately for readers, it seems as though media outlets often take the path of least resistance and just port their online content into an app. There are a few, however, who forge their own paths. Here are three unique mobile apps where publishers are trying something new.
Orange County Register: This local California paper (1.3 million uniques in February 2012, according to comScore) takes a unique approach to delivering content on its app, The Peel. The outlet plays to the audience, serving stories throughout six categories — news, sports, business, trending, things to do, and photo/video gallery — that are chosen based on iPad reader’s interests and many of the stories can only be found within the application. Additionally, the app pushes content in the evening and each addition features content exclusively for the app. A novel approach for a local outlet, this app can go a long way for those living in the OC — or those just stopping by.
Download the app here.
WP Politics The Washington Post has an election 2012 specific app, which does way more than port content from its website. Sure, there’s news from the paper and a website that finds its way onto the app — like Ezra Klein’s blog or The Fact Checker — but the app delivers additional information that’s not on the site: a polling map for the uber-wonky who want to know how each candidate is faring in sentiment at any given time; candidate issues tracker, which uses motion graphics to provide users with an “at-a-glance” understanding of where each of the candidates stand, and previously stood, on the major issues of the campaign; the historical election results map, which includes every vote, in every state, for every candidate, in every presidential election since 1789, and is presented with Washington Post articles written before and after every election since 1880. This app is a political wonk’s dream as it gives information that can’t even be found on the Washington Post’s site.
Download the app here.
King’s Cross, London – Streetstories The Guardian recently released an app that lets users listen to the sounds of Foggy London Town while walking the streets of King’s Cross. Additionally, the app serves as a walking guide with more than 70 stories and two hours of audio material, all relevant to a user’s location. The app boasts of readings from Dickens (location-specific), the architecture of Gilbert Scott’s St. Pancras, as well interviews with former street workers giving listeners an oral history of the area. This is a great idea for users who want to learn more about their surroundings. Hopefully other major news outlets will follow in The Guardian’s footsteps, especially in cities around the world.
Download the app here.
May my spinning hard drive one day be a thing of the past. From Fortune:
According to Reuters, Apple (AAPL) has sealed the deal that was rumored last week to buy Anobit, the Israeli company that makes the flash memory technology used in Apple’s iPhones, iPads and MacBook Airs.
For Apple, this is a big acquisition, both in dollar terms and in technology. The price — a reported $500 million — is larger than the $472 million it paid for NeXT, once 14 years of inflation is taken into account.
The acquisition also reinforces Apple’s growing commitment to flash memory, which is gradually replacing the hard drives the company has been using for mass storage since the mid 1980s. Apple is now the world’s largest consumer of flash, thanks to sales of its iPods, iPads and iPhones.
The MacBook Air also relies on solid state (rather than mechanical disk) memory, and flash is now an option on the company’s MacBook Pros as well.