Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The Daily’s Apple-Only Days Are Numbered: Android Coming This Spring

Rupert Murdoch leaned heavily on Apple to launch the Daily, and for now the iPad is the only place you can read News Corp.’s new digital newspaper.

But that exclusivity will end in a few months: Sources tell me The Daily is prepping for an Android tablet launch in the second quarter of this year.

Murdoch and News Corp. (which also owns this Web site) have been clear that they always planned on getting the Daily on as many tablets as possible, so the move isn’t a huge shock.

But I’m still a bit surprised to see the move to Google come this early, given the emphasis that News Corp. had placed on its Apple relationship prior to launch earlier this month.

The Daily has always been a News Corp. project, not an Apple/News Corp. partnership, but Murdoch’s team has gotten plenty of technical assistance from Apple, and this was the first publication to use Apple’s new subscription service. Most telling is that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was initially scheduled to show up at The Daily’s launch event to bless the publication himself; he eventually ended up sending Apple content boss Eddy Cue instead.

That’s the same event where Murdoch said The Daily would show up on non-Apple devices eventually, but that “we think last year, this year, and next year will belong to the iPad.”

News Corp. declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Apple is still paying close attention to The Daily. Sources say that last week it summoned the publication’s technology team from New York to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters to go over the app’s “stability issues”–pokey load times, crashes, ¬†etc.

But those bugs (and plenty of criticism from media critics) don’t seem to have deterred people from trying the app: I’m told that downloads are ahead of News Corp.’s plan (this is net of the re-downloads that the publication asked users to go through after launch). We’ll see what happens this week, as the Daily’s free trial period comes to an end.