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New York Times on your desktop – version 2.0

May 11th, 2009

Picture 5 The New York Times has just released an app for reading the newspaper on the desktop. You can get it at http://timesreader.nytimes.com. 

The first question that I asked myself was: Why wasn’t the browser enough for them? Why do you need a desktop app for viewing some pictures and text?

Then something popped into my head. I asked myself: When do I read the newspaper? Well, I read the news in the metro, when waiting in line for something, when sitting on the … well toilet … and sometimes on weekend mornings while still in bed. Except for the weekend mornings (when I read it on my laptop) at all other times I use a mobile device. And the experience on the mobile device is less than stellar.

Now one thing that I immediately noticed about TimesReader was how easy it is to navigate and how nice it resizes (The resize is way tooooo cool). And that is when ‘that something’ popped into my head: This is perfect for devices that are NOT standard PCs. I mean it is cool for PCs too but it might not justify the effort when the browser might be good enough (except that you can also download a week’s worth of content and read it offline). But if you have something that you can hold in your hand and read it on the metro, this kind of interaction is just PERFECT.

I think this piece of software could be the beginning of a revolution. If you take this reader, add reasonable cheap tablet PCs or capable phones and a runtime that can run consistently on all these hardware … well it sounds like a revolutionary way to deliver a newspaper in a digital way. (I know Adobe AIR is not yet on my phone, but I urge the engineers to hurry up). Why? Because this way a digital newspaper can really pass the hardest test of all: Can you read it easily when sitting on the toilet?

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