Zinio magazines on Android phones: Will you read them?


On Friday Zinio added support for Google Android handsets, bringing content from more than 1,000 digital magazine publishers to smartphones and small tablets running Android versions 2.2 and 2.3, approximately 78 percent of all phones currently powered by Google. To help spur downloads, Zinio is offering free issues of 12 magazines through August 15: BlackBook, Bike, ESPN The Magazine, House Beautiful, Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, Maxim, Outdoor Photographer, Redbook, Robb Report, Seattle Met, Surfer, and Wine Enthusiast.

Although Zinio hasn’t mentioned this in their news release, I suspect more Android phones will come with the Zinio client pre-loaded. If you saw my video overview of the upcoming T-Mobile myTouch 4G Slide, you may have noticed that Zinio was already on the phone, for example. Those types of pre-installation partnerships between Zinio and carriers are likely to help attract digital magazine readers, perhaps even more than having the free Zinio software available in the Android Market.


I did spend a few minutes with Zinio on the myTouch 4G slide this morning, though I think magazines are better suited for larger displays, such as my 7-inch Galaxy Tab or even bigger tablets. But I liked how Zinio detected that I was on a 3G network and told me that a Wi-Fi network would provide an optimal experience. You can start to browse magazine content within a minute or two of starting a magazine download, but the optimal experience won’t happen until the entire title is downloaded. Until the magazine completely loads high-quality page images, it can show some text fuzziness when zooming in. And on the 3.7-inch, 800×480 resolution display of the new myTouch phone, there’s plenty of zooming required.

I’ve been a paying customer of Zinio digital magazines for at least six years, so the flexibility to read occasional magazine content on an Android phone is welcome. Most of my reading will still be done on a larger screen, however; reading fixed-format digital content on the small screen of a smartphone will be a secondary activity for me, and likely for many others. But maybe I’m an outlier or not a good representative of the average digital magazine customer. If you’re reading magazines on Zinio — and you already can with an Apple iPhone, iPod touch or iPad — I’d be curious what device you use most to do so: a tablet, a computer or a smartphone?

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