Thursday, January 28, 2010

BPN 1419 Eat your heart out, Roger Fidler

The presentation of the Apple iPAD is a milestone for the newspaper publishers, regardless of the actual gadget. For it is years ago – to be exact from 1991 – that the newspaper company Knight Ridder sponsored a new media lab to develop the newspaper of the future. Head of the New Media Lab was Roger Fidler.

One of the outcomes of the lab activities was the Electronic Tablet. The Electronic Tablet never came further than a not working prototype (see illustration) and a very realistic promotion movie. The lab was suspended in 1995 and Roger Fidler started a tour around the world and also landed in Amsterdam, where he showed the promotion movie (still not available on YouTube; I have a digital copy which I transferred from the video tape). If you replace the Electronic Tablet in the movie with the iPAD, you see that Roger Fiddler was on the right track, but that the necessary technology was not available yet. So eat your heart out, Roger.

Digital newspapers developers should really look at the movie. It tells what the iPAD can do for an electronic newspaper. It goes further than the static digital paper e-reader copy, which basically present the newspaper in pdf. E-readers have become the representative of the static black and white books and newspapers by the introduction of the iPAD. Now the dynamic digital newspaper can be shown with the newspaper as is, but also with a movie behind the photograph. Welcome to the new gadget which gives colour to the world and opens up a completely new avenue for publishers: the mobile entertainment centre. It will carry information in multimedia and link in friends of the social network.

But having looked at the strategic implications of the iPAD, the gadget warrants a closer look. For what has Apple iPAD to offer? First impression is a larger screen than that of the iPhone and for the rest much of the same. And some gurus already question the quality and use of the movies, the typing on the iPAD. Reading a book will be tiresome on the LCD-screen. So do we have to be happy with the iPAD? I think that we should as it is a break-through of a mobile entertainment centre, which is going to be of strategic value for newspaper and magazine publishers.

BTW Have a look at the funny take-off on the iPAD.

I finally found the video of Knight Ridder with Roger Fidler.

Blog Posting Number: 1419

Tags: newspaper

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