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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