Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We're no Angry Birds, but ...

Having just finished Walter Isaacson’s unflinching biography of Steve Jobs, I’m reminded of the things I admired about the Apple co-founder and his lifelong rival, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
         
Both Jobs and Gates essentially stole the software from Xerox that eventually became the windows-based operating systems for Job’s Apple and Macintosh lines and Gates’ Windows software suites. Beyond that, they took entirely different routes, with Jobs preferring tightly controlled end-to-end solutions, while Gates threw open the doors and let a thousand flowers blossom.
          
 The choice between Apple and its competitors is playing out again in the mobile and smart phone world, only this time Apple’s main competitor is Google and its Android system.
          
Also, once again, this is changing the game in journalism, which is always particularly challenging for small, independent newspapers like the Post Register that lack the resources of a major corporation.
          
Some of our more tech-savvy readers want to know when we’ll make our paper available via mobile applications designed specifically for the iPad and the Android-based tablets and smart phones made by everyone from Sony to Amazon. Now, you can read our newspaper online from virtually any device, but it can be clunky and awkward when using a smart phone or tablet, so specific applications are called for.
          
We’re taking a multi-faceted approach to pursuing this opportunity.
          
First, we’re working internally on converting our existing web site to HTML5 and changing its dimensions slightly. This makes the site more compatible with nearly any mobile device, though it’s not a perfect solution.
          
There are, of course, existing applications we can use to improve your user experience with the Post Register online, whether you’re using an Apple or an Android device. (Unfortunately, Blackberry, with its excellent tactile pull-down keyboard – my personal favorite smart phone – has fallen well behind in this race and is in danger of become irrelevant). We’re looking at the best Apple and Android applications that will best fit the needs of our readers.
           
Our target is to have all of this ready to unveil no later than early spring, 2012. At that point, we plan to have a wide variety of options available to our readers,the ultimate result being be that the savvy technology user will be able to choose between reading the Post Register in print, on a PC, on their iPhone, iPad, Kindle or any other Android-based tablet or smart phone, with attractive pricing based on the options selected.
          
Want to provide us your thoughts as we work through the options? Just drop a note to: rplothow@postregister.com. We know we can't compete with Angry Birds, but we want to be your go-to source for local information on any device.

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