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'The Daily': No Longer Just For iPads (But Not For All Androids, Either)

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The Daily is finally available in Android, sort of. The News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) tablet tabloid, which has been iPad only since birth, is not being offered in the Android Marketplace but instead will start life in its second OS only on certain Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) devices — and for now, only on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Verizon was the launch sponsor for The Dailylast year, supporting its free trial. Now it will give the digital tab a chance to work out any kinks in a controlled environment, rolling out device by device. The just-announced Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 will also get the app

The app will be pre-loaded in new devices — a first for the fledgling paper — and will be added to existing ones with a software update.

That doesn’t mean it’s free: users will get a one-week trial, then choose whether to pay $3.99 a month, $39.99 annually or drop it. The plan also marks another change in sales strategy. The iPad version has a weekly auto-renew option.

Update: From CES, Publisher Greg Clayman explained via e-mail that the relationship with Verizon is why he opted for a slow rollout over a full Android app: “Verizon is a strong, long time partner of ours. We’re thrilled that they’ve chosen to pre-load our application on their tablets, and that’s
what is driving our launch strategy here.”

As for the pricing differences,The Daily is testing different models on various platforms and will stick with the current plans for iPad.
The Daily app was the third highest-grossing iPad app on iTunes.

The digital paper currently has 100,000 paid subscribers, according to Clayman. That’s an increase of 25 percent over the 80,000 he reported in early October. The next big test will be how many of the early users who went for annual subscriptions renew.

While I earlier viewed an Android app as a chance for The Daily to gain a substantial amount of new subscribers, given the relatively small number of Samsung and Motorola (NYSE: MMI) tablets compared to the iPad it’s hard to see this deal boosting subscription numbers by much. But it should help shift the iPad-only image and give The Daily a shot at gaining new readers in a new environment.