Offline online content?

I am currently scratching my head about the New York Times’ Times Reader. The Reader was demoed to me last week by a Microsoft representative who was showcasing products developed with new MS products.

In NYT’s own words, the Times Reader enables you to:

Read it offline

Sync Times Reader, and you can have the complete Times, including the latest news and photos, wherever you go.

Easy-to-read format

Adjusts to any screen size. It’s easy to read and navigate, no scrolling. And you control the font size.

7 day Times archive

You’ll have seven days of The Times at your fingertips.

News in Pictures

View a slide show with all of the day’s photos; click on a photo to jump to the story.

Free membership to TimesSelect and Premium Crosswords

Including The Times archives going back to 1851, plus exclusive online access to the New York Times Daily crossword puzzle and more than 4,000 Classic Times crossword puzzles

Since when did the ability to read a newspaper offline, in an easy-to-read format, with a 7-day archive, with access to pictures become a differentiator from the online version of a paper?

Maybe I am missing something, but surely this is simply getting online content offline? In an increasingly unwired age, is offline access to a website really an innovation?

In case I’ve missed something compelling I’ve subscribed to the 30-day free trial, but I am yet to understand!

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3 responses to “Offline online content?

  1. Offline – content that goes with you regardless of your current connection state. When connected, new content flows in and links and what not “light up.” When not connected, the experience still works.

    If you’ve used Outlook with the local store functionality you’ll get some of why this is useful.

    It’s also about creating an immersive and seamless user experience – readers don’t have to micromanage their connection in mobile scenarios. There are no 404 errors, performance is great, navigation intuitive. In that sense, you can call it “Robust Online”…

  2. simplerisbetter

    @Kevin – I’m interested to hear your thoughts. I certainly understand the basic concept – I am just a little sceptical of whether it is really compelling/cutting edge for today’s readership. After all what % of the time are we really unconnected?

    This may be a cultural thing (and I’m not sure where you’re based) but I can be connected internet access wirelessly 24/7 except when I’m flying (which is pleasantly infrequently).

    I’d certainly be interested to hear of the take up and retention rates for the service.

  3. I don’t read the NY Times regularly (obviously) but did have a look at this. I see it as a great way to read the news in the place people most often read newspapers – on the bus or in the car. I have a tablet pc, and reading the NYTimes like this is quite easy.

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