A Fantastically Interesting Failure
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Earlier this month, The Tribune Co. announced they are developing their own Android-based tablet device. The tablet is to be distribute free or very cheap to folks who subscribe to their daily newspapers, including the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Seeing that the company is up to its sleeve garters in Chapter 11 proceedings, you’d think they’d be concentrating on leveraging the digital market rather than using it as a petard for self-hoisting. They already have (uninteresting) iPad and Android apps – why not invest the gazillions of dollars and hours wasted on this hardware solution to design and implement unique and meaningful (and monetizable) experiences on existing platforms? They own several major newspapers and over 20 television stations; with all this quality content, they are perfectly positioned to innovate – to design and develop new ways for users to access, experience, and interact with their copious content. Instead, the Tribune Co. chooses to give away a free toaster. To sell more paper.
According to a CNN story, this crazy initiative involves “various consultants and partner organizations”. Who are these consultants? If their consultants included user-centered software design firms they might have a chance to a) enact a real monetizable digital solution and b) emerge as innovators in the digital asset delivery space. Instead we will get another short-lived device for the landfill and the same blah apps.
In that same CNN story, a person close to the matter says in best: “it’ll be a fantastically interesting failure.”