Newspaper publishing giant Tribune Co. is said to be developing a tablet for subscribers of its newspapers, according to a report by CNN. The Chicago-based publisher of such print mainstays as the Los Angeles Times, the Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune, would offer the touchscreen tablet for free or at an extremely low cost to customers who agree to sign up for an extended subscription plan.
According to the article's author Mark Milian,who said he got his information from five individuals briefed on the project, the tablet will most likely run a modified version of Android and could be offered with a wireless data plan provided by a major carrier. Unfortunately for the publishing company, the project has seen its fair share of technical problems throughout the development process, Milian said. The tablet was originally scheduled to be tested in Southern California and Chicago later this month, but it's looking like the company will blow that deadline.
Tribune, which is in the process of attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, already has apps for several smartphones, as well as the iPad, but doesn't have any apps for Android's Honeycomb tablets. The company also offers its Mosaic by Tribune software for Windows tablets and smartphones as well as the Galaxy Tab.
Tribune's play isn't the first attempt by a print media company to move into the tablet game. The Skiff, a Hearst-sponsored eReader that we tried out at CES 2010 and hasn't been heard of since, was supposed to supplement the struggling print industry's advertising model by offering users a reading experience similar to what they are used to with their daily newspaper or monthly magazine. The Philadelphia Media Network also recently announced that it would begin selling subsidized Android tablets complete with four preloaded apps, two of which included digital versions of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.