Tag Archives | Digital Magazines

Kindle Magazines and Newspapers Finally Move Beyond the Kindle

Whenever I write about the reading materials that are available for Amazon.com’s Kindle, I have to remember to be precise. A very good selection of magazines and newspapers exist in Kindle form, but you’ve only been only to read them on Kindle hardware, not on the Kindle apps available for the iPhone Android, and other platforms.

Today, that’s changed–not completely, but quite a bit. Amazon has updated its Kindle app for Android to version 2.0, and the new version lets you buy magazines and newspapers, in both single-copy and subscription form.

Amazon says more than a hundred publications are available. That’s an impressive start, but there’s further to go–by my count, folks who own the Kindle e-reader have access to 238 magazines and papers. For now, the Android app’s selection is spotty (you can get Newsweek but not TIME; The New York Times but not The Wall Street Journal).

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FlipBoard Reviewed

Slate’s Farhad Manjoo really likes FlipBoard’s “social magazine” for the iPad. So do I: It had a bumpy launch, but seems to be working well for me. It’s fun right now–I spent part of my flight from New York to San Francisco yesterday relaxing with it–and the basic concept has infinite possibilities if the app gets smarter and smarter at figuring out what content is most important to you.)

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News Corp. Buys Skiff

This is intriguing: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has bought Skiff, a spinoff from the Hearst Corporation that’s behind a still-unreleased platform for digital magazines and newspapers. I saw Skiff’s e-reader at CES in January and thought it was a pretty slick Kindle rival. Even then, I found Skiff as a platform more interesting than Skiff as a device. And that was before we entered the Technicolor world of the iPad, which makes even the nicest monochrome E-Ink devices look profoundly retro–especially for magazines, which cry out for color.

There hasn’t been much in the way of Skiff news since CES, except for the announcement of a partnership to put its reader software on Samsung phones–for instance, the release date and price of the Skiff gadget remain unknown. I still think that open standards like HTML5 will eventually eliminate the need for proprietary technologies designed to make digital reading materials look pretty and approachable. In the short term, though, Skiff has an opportunity–there’s still a need for what it’s doing. Here’s hoping that it’s hard at work on software for the iPad, Android tablets, and Windows–and that it’s the whole ecosystem rather than the E-Ink reader that got News Corp. excited.



Wired's iPad App: Finally Here, Still a Work in Progress

For months, Wired has been showing off a splashy prototype tablet edition of its magazine at industry confabs:

It’s a knockout of  a demo–but I keep saying that it’s time for fewer digital magazine prototypes and more ones that real people can buy. And Wired’s magazine app is now a reality, in the form of a $4.99 iPad app you can buy from the App Store. It was created in collaboration with Adobe, and apparently sidesteps any development techniques which Apple would have problems with.

This first iPad issue is a partial implementation of the dazzler from the video. It’s got the rich-media elements: The cover story on Pixar includes a clip from the movie and a video tour of the studio, for instance. The app does a remarkably good job of reformatting pages to look good in either portrait or landscape mode–an origami-like challenge that makes my head hurt just thinking about it. The fancy thumbnail-based navigation is there. And the whole thing has the visual splendor which print Wired has always had and Wired’s (excellent) Web site does not.

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Digital Magazines: Prototypes, Questions, and Realities

On Monday, I was at South by Southwest in Austin, where I attended a panel in which representatives from Wired magazine and Adobe discussed their prototype of a digital-magazine version of Wired. Then on Tuesday, I attended the Future of Publishing Summit in New York, where the Wired prototype was once again the subject of a session.

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