The Tribune Co., one of the largest newspaper publishers in the U.S., is working on a tablet computer of its own to offer its subscribers, CNN reported, citing interviews with more than half a dozen current and former Tribune employees.
According to the report, the tablet will run a modified version of Android and be offered for free or at a low cost as an incentive to sign up for extended newspaper subscriptions. Customers' hometown newspaper content and apps would feature prominently in the tablet user interface. It's also possible that a partnership with a wireless carrier could be part of the plans.
Tribune has reportedly had discussions with Samsung and other hardware makers about being a supplier for the project. Sources inside or close to Tribune told CNN that the project has hit many snags along the way and is behind schedule. It was originally hoped that testing could begin in the Chicago and Southern California markets this month.
"They're having to reinvent many wheels," a person familiar with the matter told CNN. "If it turns out to be a failure, it'll be a fantastically interesting failure."
The tablet project comes at a time when the company is immersed in bankruptcy proceedings and has recently undergone a tumultuous few years involving a change in ownership at the company, layoffs and some key resignations.
Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, a few other daily newspapers and 23 television stations.