Last month's release of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPad galvanized papers massive and little to evaluate how they can exploit a market that is poised to explode over the next several years.
If newspapers weren't already thinking about their mobile strategies before April three, they definitely are now.
But the iPad is only the latest in a long string of mobile devices competing for consumers' wallets. Other e-readers and smart rings, from the likes of Amazon, Plastic Logic, Google, Microsoft and Research In Motion, are also vying for position, and publishers require to make definite their products are available irrespective of platform.
The numbers justify the push. Borrell Associates last month said the mobile market will eclipse the $57 billion mark by 2014, over twenty times the $2.7 billion the sector generated in 2009.
Prepared to go
Publishers say they are prepared to move. In the last month or so, publishers, Freedom Communications, MediaNews Group and Journal Communications, signed deals with vendors to provide a mobile platform for their newspapers.
Freedom used its flagship Orange County (Calif.) Register as the site for its mobile news app engineered for smart phone users.
Others, such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press, debuted iPad-specific apps, while The New York Times, among others, work to further create their own iPad-specific apps.
The Register's app is part of Freedom's aggressive strategy to launch a variety of mobile products over the next several months, said Claus Enevoldsen, director of interactive promotion at Freedom Interactive.
The app, developed by Handmark, allows iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows OS gizmo users to read Register tales on their mobile rings and also lets them interact with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
"We first launched a news app at the Orange County Register and they will quickly expand to over twenty other properties," he said, adding that Freedom expects to have all the apps rolled out groupwide by the finish