Weekly news round-up: Tablets and mobiles

Tablets are in the news daily, but this week saw a first: a newspaper company planning to launch its own tablet device.

On Tuesday reports surfaced that U.S. publisher and television station-owner Tribune Co. is developing a touchscreen tablet device that it will offer to newspaper subscribers.

The tablet will likely run on a version of Google’s Android operating system and feature software for the owner’s hometown newspaper, current. Tribune is expected to offer the tablet for free or at a small cost to people who sign up for extended subscriptions of one of its newspapers.

Also in the tablet space, a study was released by Gfk MRI’s Starch Advertising Research showing that tablets appear to be a more effective ad platform than e-readers for magazine brands. In general, 55 percent of people who read magazines on tablets said they “noted” a magazine ad displayed on their devices. The figure among those with e-readers was 41 percent, compared to 53 percent among those who read hard copy magazine ads in 2010.

In addition, magazine ads on tablets tend to drive more engagement than e-readers, the study found. Among the group who “noted” a magazine ad on a tablet, 26 percent said they had a better perception of the advertiser than before, versus 19 percent for e-readers.

On the mobile front, a survey released Wednesday announced it had found that location-based advertising isn’t as important on mobiles as previously thought. Rather, people seem to be more interested in mobile ads that are personalised. Mobile ads and offers that target users by their interests and tastes were viewed as more effective, according to the survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States, conducted by Luth Research for mobile marketing company Upstream.

Personalised offers were ranked at 59 percent, whereas location was ranked at 8 percent by feature phone users. Meanwhile, 60 percent of smartphone users said they preferred personalised offers, and 14 percent chose location.

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