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Time pops tablets to take magazines electronic

Haven't we already tried that?

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Time Inc. has seen the future, and it's electronic magazines rendered on an Apple tablet, assuming Apple ever makes one.

The publisher has been working out how to sell magazines in an electronic format. It reckons advertisers will pay extra for video inserts, while punters will want access to more pictures and video content - so a bit like a web page only with more touching, as the breathless video demonstrates:

It's not clear why we need a new interface to read magazines - designed using Adobe's AIR - when the web already does a pretty good job of providing multimedia content. Zinio offers a pretty interface for electronic versions of magazines, though it's PC only.

But Time is betting that tablet devices are going to be big, and will need specialist content to take advantage of them. It's probably not coincidence that the Editor of Sports Illustrated, Terry McDonell was interviewed by TechCrunch on the subject, given the CrunchPad would have made an ideal platform for the kind of content envisioned by Time, if it had only existed.

Mr. McDonell is adamant that punters are desperate to pay more money for the digital version of Sports Illustrated, as well as the other Time titles, though even he admits that their market research is "in no way scientific".

The lack of suitable hardware (the demonstrations run on a Windows-based Tablet PC) and inevitable competition from the web makes us dubious to say the least. Making electronic magazines incompatible with the latest eBook readers seems counter intuitive, but who's going to buy the Swimsuit Edition for display in glorious greyscale? ®

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