Welcome to Printing Industry News Digest (PIND) issue 100, providing a summary of major news items from the printing, publishing, packaging, digital, and communications technology sectors. PIND incorporates brief summaries and links to the week’s key news stories so that you can look up that all important detail, digging deeper behind the headline.
With our Royal hat on, it seemed only polite and honorable to give last week a miss, with the UK knee deep in Diamond Jubilee celebrations (and rain!), and a large chunk of our readership taking days away from the coal-face in order to join in the festivities. It seemed wrong for us to divert attention away from Her Majesty in order to celebrate our own major event: 100 editions of PIND! Yes, we have clocked up a century of digital news summaries, and probably deserve a medal for so doing (hint, hint to Queenie!). We thought it only right and proper to revisit some of the topics that have been regulars for us over the two-and-a-bit-years of news coverage.
One topic that certainly isn’t going away any time soon is that of newspapers in the digital age. A number of items have again focused on this issue in the last week. Regular contributor Roy Greenslade, writing for the Guardian, debates the “magic of print” as digital continues its inexorable march as the dominant delivery method.
Money man Warren Buffet is still pumping cash into the traditional arena: he still sees potential in a localised hard copy publication. A digital local news variant is discussed by Roy Greenslade again. Johnston Press, meanwhile, as been busy with its first wave of redesigned product.
The topic of paywalls gets some interesting feedback from journalism students. They are certainly not convinced, and bearing in mind we are talking their future pay packets, this is comment to take note of!
Worth noting, if you are an IFRA Expo fan, that the 2012 show has moved! It was to be held in the financially stricken Spanish capital of Madrid, but the October 29 to 31 dates have been moved over to the cash rich Frankfurt exhibition centre instread!
I guess also under that broad umbrella of companies trying to come to terms with the digital age, camera maker Olympus has hit the headlines in the last few days with savage cuts to its workforce in order to re-shape itself for today’s market. This follows a £10m settlement for its British ex-Chief Exec Michael Woodford, whose sacking led to an 80% fall in share value.
The huge development in the e-book market since our launch ensures that sectors place in our 100th edition. The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch provided an excellent summary recently, in which the five years of the Kindle is the starting point.
Our Antipodean friends at Print 21 takes a more print friendly view of things, citing the lower lending levels by students in schools that have gone all digital.
On the hardware front, touchscreen Ultrabook’s running Windows 8 seem to have stolen the show at this year’s Computex event, suggesting that this is going to be the hardware form for laptop’s over this coming 12 months.
Memory prices have almost fallen through the floor in the last couple of years, and with so much cloud storage space now being given away for zilch (see our recent Issue 98 for more details), even memory sticks are now almost being given away. For those who want to keep their portable data “physical”, grab a 32Gb thumb drive for a £10 note: yes, £1 now buys you 3.2Gb of space!
Tablets of course have to feature here. Our tablet talk started right from day one of PIND, as edition one carried news of the US and UK release of the iPad: yes, that is just over two years ago, nothing more! How the media space has changed in that time, and how rapidly the tablet as a product has developed in such a short space of time (and how rapidly the market for tablets has mushroomed!). The third iteration of the iPad is now on a lot of people’s wish list, and Android variants by the dozen have been tossed into the market (and out of the market again in quite a few cases).
The iPad is still dominant in the tablet world, both in terms of sales and sophistication (in our opinion). Yes, we have dabbled with both products: iPad is still a superior piece of hardware, and is backed by equally superior software. Android tablets have come on a long way. The software, however, still has much catching up to do. We have highlighted in PIND the wide variety of OS versions still in the market. This makes it difficult for developers.
Microsoft might muddy the waters a little with Windows 8 on tablets. Price wars continue with Android products, with the Kindle Fire a key product that has caused major 7-inch ripples around Cupertino. This exciting market has some way to go, and developments will continue at some pace. It will be good to review the tablet world in another 12 months. We think that Apple will have a 7-inch (or so!) product, and will still dominate the high-end of the sector; we think that the Kindle Fire will have further eaten into the smaller format end of the market; we think that other Android products will still be floundering around, but will be even cheaper (to compete with Amazon); and we think that Windows tablets will still be struggling to gain traction due to high pricing (compared with Amazon and Android kit). PIND will report back in 2013!
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Issue 98: Cloud space offerings compared
Issue 97: PrintWeek’s Drupa app
Issue 96: The role of print in communications