Philly Newspapers launch their cheap tablet: The Arnova 10 G2

Philadelphia Newspapers tablet

Philadelphia Media Network is now the first newspaper company in the country to offer an Android tablet bundled with digital newspaper subscription content. Earlier this summer the publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News announced plans to sell an Android tablet, and today it’s available for purchase for $99 and up.

That’s the good news. The less good news? The tablet is an Archos Arnova 10 G2. This is a budget Android tablet which has been available for a few weeks, and which normally sells for around $220 and up.

In other words, you don’t actually save that much when you get the tablet from Philadelphia Media Network. In order to get the $99 price you’ll need to pay $9.99 per month for 2 years to subscribe to three digital news applications. The total cost? $338.76.

You can also sign up for a 1 year subscription at $12.99 and get the tablet for $129 up front. The total cost in that case would be $284.88.

If you were planning on subscribing two all three news apps from Philadelphia Media Network anyway, this might be a good deal, but I suspect the publisher is hoping to attract customers that wouldn’t otherwise become subscribers.

As far as the Arnova 10 G2, it’s not a bad machine, as far as inexpensive Android tablets go — although in the video below you can see a little lag when the presenter tries to scroll through digital newspaper pages. The tablet’s features include:

  • 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen display.
  • 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor
  • Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system
  • 4GB of storage + microSDHC card for expansion
  • Support for a wide range of audio and video codecs and 1080p HD video playback
  • 720p video camera
  • Speaker and mic
  • G-sensor
  • 10.6″ x 5.9″ x 0.5″
  • 1.3 pounds

Unfortunately, like many tablets running Android 2.3 and below, the Arnova 10 G2 doesn’t come with the Google Android Market. Fortunately there’s an active community of Archos tablet hackers that will probably get unofficial support for the Android Market working soon.

There are also a number of third party app stores where you can find software for the tablet without relying on the AppsLib market that comes preloaded on most Archos and Arnova devices.

If you were hoping the first newspaper-subsidized tablet would be a more expensive device such as a Sony Tablet S or Samsung Galaxy Tab, you’re out of luck. But I suppose it could have been worse. It could have been an Augen Gentouch78.

At launch only 5,000 tablets will be available as the newspaper publisher runs a pilot program. If the project is a success, we could see more tablets made available in the future. Update: MediaPost reports that a full scale launch could come in November.

The Tribune Company has also announced plans to offer tablets to subscribers.

Update: Technically Philly has posted an underwhelming hands-on video. The tablet seems kind of slow and unresponsive to touch-based gestures, and the digital reproductions of the newspapers don’t really look very good on the 10 inch screen.

  • Anonymous

    Painful to watch because you know when it fails people will point to it for the next few years as a failure of business model itself rather than just a failure of the execution of it.

  • Anonymous

    TigerDirect is selling the 8″ Arnova for $99 as well…

    • Brad Linder

      That’s the first generation. This is the G2.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, but no subscription required and you’ll still be saving over the normal price.  Though it is of course much less of a deal.

  • No

    Funny at the 52nd second of the video, the screen doesn’t respond to the finger slide of a page scan…..not a ringing endorsement.

  • Eboy75

    Well in my personal experience I have tried the 4gb Arnova 10 with android 2.1, it comes with Resistive Touchscreen (it just sucks), and what I can see on this Video with this ARNOVA 10 G2 that comes with android 2.3 and Capacitive Touchscreen, they have improve a lot and that’s why I returned the ARNOVA 10 and just ordered an ARNOVA 10 G2, for the price and the features it should be more then useful, the only complain I had with the old version of ARNOVA 10 was the touchscreen because the HD display is excellent you can even zoom in an out videos from full screen to less with out loosing display quality. Here is a video where you can check out the difference between the Resistive and the Capacitive Touchscreen, hope you like it and leave your reviews best regards and Happy Holidays :