Tribune newspapers to offer Android tablets to subscribers

The publisher of such big city dailies as the Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel is said to be working with Samsung to offer free or low-cost tablets for subscribers.

The only thing better than an official app is an official tablet. Scott Webster

Subscribers to major newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and Orlando Sentinel may soon find themselves reading their daily rag on an Android tablet. New reports have surfaced that indicate news publisher Tribune Co. is working in conjunction with Samsung to release a tablet with apps and services that feature the regional newspapers.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, several current and former Tribune employees provided details of the plans. According to the sources, readers can receive a free or highly subsidized tablet in exchange for longer term commitments and a data plan with a wireless provider.

The tablets are expected to launch in a number of test markets at first with more cities coming later. Though the exact time frame remains unknown, three CNN sources confirmed an initial August rollout has been delayed.

Tribune is not the only news organization looking to digital technology to boost sales and subscriber numbers. Just last month the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News announced a pilot program to sell Android-based tablets with integrated newspaper content. While the exact manufacturer is still a mystery, the tablets could allow users access to additional applications including e-mail and Web browsing. Roughly 2,000 tablets will be made available in the first wave, with more added as the year unfolds.

I'd love to hear your take on newspapers offering tablets to their subscribers. Would you be willing to sign a long-term commitment in exchange for an Android tablet? Does the hardware manufacturer play a role in your decision?

 

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