October 25th, 2011

Times launches on Android tab­let as Guard­ian iPad and Face­book edi­tions take off

The Times launched their Android tab­let ver­sion today, almost 17 months after the launch of their iPad edition.

The Times web­site announced, “Like our iPad edi­tion, our Android ver­sion com­bines the best of The Times journ­al­ism with the inter­activ­ity of your tab­let, includ­ing enhanced graph­ics, stun­ning pic­ture gal­ler­ies and exclus­ive videos.”

The new Android edi­tion is also expec­ted to fea­ture in-​depth ana­lysis and fea­tures from the week-​day sup­ple­ments as well as live reports and video dispatches.

Accord­ing to fig­ures released this month, the num­ber of people pay­ing for a digital ver­sion of The Times has risen 10% in the past three months to just over 110,000. Its sta­blem­ate, the Sunday Times has seen a sim­ilar rise over the quarter, bring­ing sub­scriber num­bers to 105,600.

The Times move into the Android tab­let may seem unsur­pris­ing, given that Android’s mar­ket dom­in­ance has been rein­forced in sev­eral mar­ket share meas­ure­ments this year. This week, ABI Research announced that Google’s Android had over­taken Apple’s iOS as the most pop­u­lar plat­form for mobile app down­loads this year, for the first time.

How­ever, some may view this as an ‘exper­i­mental’ move by The Times as the split in the tab­let mar­ket share is very dif­fer­ent. With num­bers of products dif­fi­cult to com­pare, as Android counts tab­lets shipped to retail­ers whilst Apple counts iPads actu­ally sold to end-​users, the mar­ket is likely to be made up of over 70% for Apple and less than 20% for Android.

Nev­er­the­less, the focus of the UK ‘broad­sheet’ news­pa­pers on the tab­let and other digital formats appears to be gath­er­ing momentum.

The Guard­ian launched their iPad edi­tion last week and it has since been down­loaded 145,880 times, mak­ing it their most suc­cess­ful app so far. How­ever, it was launched with a three month free trial — sponsored by Chan­nel 4 — and the num­ber of sub­scribers signed up after this period will provide a bet­ter indic­a­tion of its success.

This is our most suc­cess­ful app launch to date, and an import­ant mile­stone as we con­tinue to evolve into a digital-​first news organ­isa­tion.” Alan Rus­bridger, editor-​in-​chief, Guard­ian News & Media

Pre­vi­ously, the Guard­ian launched an iPhone app in Janu­ary this year, which has been down­loaded over 570,000 times, with nearly 100,000 users going on to take out sub­scrip­tions. And The Guard­ian also launched a free, ad-​funded Android app on 7 Septem­ber, which has been down­loaded over 250,000 times.

How­ever, the suc­cess that The Guard­ian has had with its Face­book app appears to be put­ting its other digital formats in the shade. Just over a mil­lion mem­bers of Face­book have installed the Guardian’sFacebook app since it was launched just under a month ago.

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