Saturday, November 15, 2008

Read & Go: Orange Working On The Next Generation Of Newspapers

FrenchTelecommunications operator Orange is investing on Read & Go, a new technology that aims to revolution the consumption of Newspapers. Indeed, the newspaper industry has been deeply hurt by the arrival of Internet and the profusion of free information on the web. Newspapers corporation are still struggling to adapt their business model, and some of them are still pursuing massive job cuts.

Information consumption on the Internet not the best solution
However, consuming information on the Internet has not all the advantages that the old fashion newspaper had. Indeed, reading on the computer is not as comfortable as reading on the paper would be. Also, because of the large amount of information proposed on the web, it is hard to get the big picture of what is going on. I am actually reading a book called "the paradox of choice: When more is less", where the theory is that in our modern society, the existence of a vast choice is overwhelming and counter productive.

I know RSS feeds exists and aggregators like Netvibes or Google Readers work great, but let's be honest, their use is still confidential and did not yet spread out on the mass market. Also, I believe their use has some limits, especially while not on the computer. I also feel we should not be forced to live in front of a computer, especially in order to consume information. Now that TV, videos, radios and news are on the Internet, we spend too much time in front of our machines, time that is not necessary.

Orange's Read & Go
The Read & Go device looks like a blank sheet. It is supported by the electronic paper technology which provides the same reading comfort than the regular paper, even in the sun and limit the battery consumption.
The device is equipped with Wifi and a 3G connection in order to get the information right when it is up. Actually, the device proposes a mix between the paper edition of the newspaper added to the RSS feed of the website, in order to get both the quality of analysis of the newspaper and the reactivity of the website.

My opinion
The device should be available by 2009, and I believe you'll need to subscribe to a specific plan (wether a 3G wireless connection or a plan with the magazine). I really like this idea because I am convinced that we haven't found yet a viable way to consume news on a daily basis, as the information on the web is way to much time consuming. Also, I really like the electronic paper technology that provides great comfort while reading for long periods (whether it is books or news).