Pay a little up front and get your brand-new Android tablet, then pay a monthly fee for a service. But we're not talking 3G data here -- we're talking news. The Times, the Rupert Murdoch-owned 227-year-old newspaper, will sell you a 32GB £4 per week subscription to its tablet edition. It's a brave new world alright -- but is it good value for money?for just £50 when you sign up to a
First of all, £4 per week is £17.33 per month, for a minimum of 18 months. That sounds more like a phone contract than a subscription to one website. But it does open the gates of the Times' paywall, so you can find out what Giles Coren's kids have been up to, or what Caitlin Moran thinks about the royal baby, or who Jeremy Clarkson has offended this week.
You can access that abundant wealth of content from any device, and you also benefit from Times+, a members-only set of events such as film screenings and "expert talks".
Here's how the deal shakes down. £50 plus £17.33 for 18 months tots up to £362. The 32GB Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 the Times is offering will set you back £199 direct from Google, so a year and a half of the Times is effectively costing you £163.
Alternatively, you could buy a 3G Nexus 7 for £239 upfront and have enough left over for 1GB of data per month for £7.50 from GiffGaff, for 16 months, for the same £362. If you need an absolute buttload of data, Three will sell you a 3G Nexus 7 for £49 with 15GB of data for £25 per month, for a total of £649 over two years.
The Times' other subscription options include access to just the website for £2 per week for a year, with the first three months half price; or the real dead-tree newspapers delivered to your house for £6 per week, which includes the tablet app too. I'd say either of those are a better bet than this cheap Nexus deal, in the long run.
It's not been a brilliant week for Rupert Murdoch's Internet publishing empire -- the Dirty Digger had to shut down The Daily, a tablet-only daily newspaper that lasted less than two years. Reaching only 100,000 subscribers, it reportedly lost an estimated $30m a year. Meanwhile his TV station for being slow to support Android devices, including the Nexus 7, ironically enough.
Google's been much more successful with its latest Nexus devices -- the Nexus 7, its big brother the Nexus 10 and phone sister the Nexus 4 have all won coveted CNET UK Editors' Choice awards, thanks to sterling screens, the latest Android software and extremely affordable price tags. It's not all been sunshine and lollipops, however, as Google has -- it's still sold out, with no sign of any more stock incoming.
Are you tempted by a subsidised Nexus 7? Do you think this kind of service is the future for consuming news? Publish your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our timely Facebook page.