Publishers can finally sell digital subscriptions on Android devices

Android Developers | Open Signal Maps
Publishers and other app developers can now sell subscriptions with recurring payments through their Android apps. For the past year Android developers could conduct one-time transactions, such as single-issue sales, through in-app purchases. But only now can Android users authorize automatic monthly or annual payments for a subscription.

Apple has offered in-app subscriptions on iOS devices since February 2011. Just like Apple, Google will process subscription payments and take a 30 percent cut.

The change could improve the profitability of developing for Android, which has more users than iOS but has generated less sales revenue. Google says 23 of the 24 top-grossing apps in its market already use in-app billing, and the revenue from in-app purchases exceeds revenue from paid app downloads. Read more


Amazon, Kindle Fire users buying lots of content through apps

Flurry | China Economic News Service
More evidence that Amazon’s Kindle Fire is pulling far ahead of other Android-powered tablets: A study finds the average Amazon app store user spent almost four times more money on in-app purchases than a user of Google’s standard Android app store. Mobile analytics company Flurry measured purchases through popular apps available across iTunes, Google Play and Amazon:

Meanwhile, a report out of Taiwan says Amazon is preparing to roll out three new Kindle Fire models this year — a “low-end” model like the current one, another 7-inch model with higher screen resolution, and a high-end model with a larger 8.9-inch screen.

Related: Personalized news aggregator Zite launches Android app (Zite) | Smartphones are half of all U.S. mobile phones, and growing fast (Nielsen) || Earlier: Tablet ownership nearly doubled in January (Poynter) Read more

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How will we reinvent news for Google’s new augmented-reality eyeglasses?

The New York Times | 9to5 Google
Nick Bilton reports Google will be selling eyeglasses with an embedded digital display by the end of the year. What kinds of new news products and sources will emerge to fit this new class of devices?

Bilton’s sources say the Android-powered headsets will cost “around the price of current smartphones.” They’ll have a small screen on the side of the viewing area, wireless Internet access, and sensors like GPS, an accelerometer and a front-facing camera to “monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby.” This description sounds similar to the glasses envisioned by Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan in “The Storm Collection,” their vision of a future when digital information overlays every part of the real world. Read more


The Guardian goes mobile with Kindle, iPad, Android editions

Inside Blog
The Guardian is expanding on mobile platforms, says mobile editor Subhajit Banerjee. The company has launched the Guardian and Observer Kindle edition, which wirelessly downloads the newspaper to a subscriber’s e-reader each day. Mobile Web traffic is now 10 percent of total digital traffic, and the iPhone app has been downloaded over 400,000 times. Coming next is an iPad app, which seeks to “redesign the newspaper exclusively in tablet form” with a single daily edition specifically curated for the iPad audience. Also coming soon is a Guardian Android app and a new product for the HP TouchPad called Guardian Zeitgeist, which I expect will resemble its trending-topics Web product by the same name. || Earlier: Guardian announces a digital-first strategy, significant print layoffs Read more


Tablet options proliferate for publishers, but Apple maintains control

In mostly separate announcements over the past two weeks, Google, Motorola, Time Warner, HP and Yahoo have all taken aim at Apple and its growing dominance of the digital tablet and mobile publishing markets.

But while the announcements are significant — an updated Android OS, several new digital tablets, a personalized news service, and tablet magazine subscriptions — even in aggregate none seem positioned to challenge Apple or the iPad in the short-term.

Google’s new Honeycomb OS — also known as Android 3.0 — was unveiled on Feb. 2. The new OS is designed specifically to support touch-screen tablets, the first version of Android to do so.

The early reviews of Honeycomb are good. But its success is dependent on manufacturers building tablets that can compete with the iPad on features, and as importantly, on price. Read more


2011′s breakout terms in Mobile Media predict the year to come in phones, tablets

This Mobile Media blog turned a year old on Jan. 21, 2010. It started with a write-up of a blog post by Chip Oglesby: “Newspapers need to connect their content to smart devices, location awareness.” More than 1,000 other updates followed.

Typically, such an anniversary could call for a list of the most popular stories from the last year, as well as a cogent analysis of the state of the industry. But I did those just before the new year:

So instead, let’s look back and forward, with the help of a Wordle tag cloud of the headlines of the last year:

(Click to enlarge)

In case you couldn’t guess, we cover mobile a lot here. Read more


RJI project tests and rates mobile journalism tools, from apps to hardware

The mobile landscape is changing fast, says Will Sullivan, and journalists need help keeping up.

Figuring out which apps to use can be a challenge, not to mention picking a phone. Aside from deciding between two iPhones (Verizon or AT&T) there are also dozens of Android models across multiple wireless carriers.

This environment demands that editors and managers become more informed and able to respond more quickly to new mobile technologies.

From his time as the interactive director of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sullivan understands the challenges of mobile reporting first-hand. He spent part of last summer visiting other newspapers in the Lee Enterprises chain and training staffers on mobile tools.

While working with those newsrooms, Sullivan said, he could not find a good, one-stop resource for journalists focused on mobile gear and apps. Read more

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