For some time now, FLYPMedia has been creating some really really cool interactivity, building it not only into existing content with publications you know, but also their own original content. So, it was with great anticipation that when I saw the new Sports Illustrated Tablet Demo, I had expectations that a FLYPMedia-like interaction was in the offing. Nope, not so fast. Something similar is in play for the advertisers, and the SI Swimsuit Edition, but Gizmodo sums this tablet idea up pretty well "...How is this different from a web page? Other than costing ten times as much to produce, that is...Never mind, I will tell you how: It’s a lot worse. It’s just pasting an old medium into a new one, painting the resulting clusterfuck with two layers of thick varnish."
Why Time Inc, who is slashing and burning staff these days, and seems to have forgotten that content is king, isn't embracing FLYP as they should is a big mystery.
Here's the SI experience on the tablet:
Here, however is the FLYPMedia experience of a Sports Illustrated story. First - it's in your browser (full screen), so no tablet needed. Second, it is FAR AND AWAY more interactive than the tablet. Browse around, and check them out. They've got some really amazing - and engaging - stories. The FLYP technology isn't, as Gizmodo put takes the tablet to task, a "... resulting clusterfuck with two layers of thick varnish." FLYP gets it right.
I am not alone in this. TechCrunch cautiously reviews the tablet here, saying "...it is not exactly a glorified CD-ROM, but adding more links would breathe some life into it", which would create a bigger problem because the tablet then becomes a Time Inc computer, which is a really really bad hardware business for them to get into. Instead, as TechCrunch cites the leader of the project to bring this to fruition, Josh Quittner, (who is also an editor at Time and the TechCrunch writers' former boss, hence maybe the tepid criticisms?), suggesting Quittner "thinks of it as an app. If people are willing to pay for apps on the iPhone, why not deliver magazines as apps also?" An app would be a better idea, and keep Time Inc out of the hardware business, letting the expected iTablet and whatever Microsoft tablet comes along, handle the hardware. TechCrunch ends their piece suggesting, of the name "Manhatten Project", that "Hail Mary might be a better name."
Further, Rob Haggart over at A Photo Editor (Time Inc’s “Manhattan Project” Is A Tablet Magazine, 12/2/09) thinks the tablet is a bit limiting too, however he points out the repeated highlighting of original/exclusive SI photography as a selling point of the tablet.
The concensus is, this Time Inc Tablet idea is like putting lipstick on a pig - it's still a pig. Go get yourself some real Kobe Beef, in the form of FLYPMedia - it's a far more satisfying experience, and doesn't cost you. As FLYP's tagline says, they're "more than a magazine", and you can see their own video about how FLYP is re-imagining the magazine experience here.
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