Tribune Creating Branded Tablet: Report

The Tribune Co. has developed plans to offer their own touch-screen tablet as part of a news subscription service featuring preloaded Tribune newspaper apps, according to reports.

The tablets are expected to run Google's Android Honeycomb operating system, to feature tradition tablet functions like gaming, the application market, and web browsing, and to be offered as part of a two-year subscription plan, according to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times.

One of the nation's largest media companies and parent to the Baltimore Sun, the Los Angeles Times, and 23 television stations, the Tribune Co. hopes the move will help it move from bankruptcy soon and provide an new avenue for consumers to buy Tribune content. 

The Tribune's major newspapers already offer applications for the smartphone and tablet platforms, and it has also developed the Mozaic multimedia program for Windows tablets and Android-based phones. These existing apps, however, are not optimized for the new breed of Android tablets running the Honeycomb operating system.

The Tribune's chief executive Eddy Hartenstein is the tablet's biggest advocate, according to CNN. Hartenstein is a noted technologist who founded DirecTV and sits on the boards of Sirius XM Radio, data-storage provider SanDisk and semiconductor solutions provider Broadcom. 

The Tribune Co. model follows last month's announcement by the Philadelphia Media Network, when CEO Greg Osberg announced that their company would offer deeply discounted Andriod tablets bundled with software that will display digital versions of its Inquirer and Daily News newspapers beginning in late August. A trial program will consist of the sell of 2,000 tablets, with more to come by the end of the year, reports the Huffington Post.

The move comes at a time when ink prices continue to rise and add costs to the production of print publications. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, only eight percent of American adults own a tablet, leaving room for added competition in the tablet market. 

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