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Papers launch new apps in time for ‘tablet Christmas’

Regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press has launched new tablet and smartphone apps for 18 of its daily and weekly titles in readiness for the so-called ‘tablet Christmas.’

Experts are predicting iPads will be among the hottest Christmas gifts this year, leading to an expected surge in sales of online products and apps.

Now JP is seeking to cash in on the boom by launching new and updated iPad and Android apps for some of its flagship titles including The Scotsman, The News, Portsmouth and The Star, Sheffield.

The Scotsman’s existing iPad app, which has now been updated,  has had almost 30,000 downloads since its original launch in January.

Johnston Press’s director of digital platforms Alex Gubbay said:  “Tablets are expected to be popular presents this Christmas, so it is an ideal time for us to launch these new apps in 18 markets around the country.”

“The range of more affordable tablet devices now available is expanding rapidly. Our new iPad and Android apps allow us to tap into this growing trend and learn how best to offer users the best from their local title in a more dynamic, convenient way.”

Available from Amazon Appstore and Google Play, the apps are all free for the first 30 days, with a monthly subscription charge then kicking in for most of the titles.

They feature all online content as well as full digital versions of the newspapers, including print supplements.

Boston Standard editor Stephen Stray, whose title is among ten getting an iPad and Android app for the first time, welcomed the move.

He said:  “We are all very excited about the launch of the app – and within minutes of going live we were already getting excellent feedback from people who had downloaded it.

“We are thrilled to be at the forefront of this exciting new platform which allows us to give the reader a real audience experience, with the paper, website and now the app.”

The full list of titles getting new apps for the first time is as follows:

News Letter, Belfast
The Star, Sheffield
Yorkshire Evening Post
Wigan Evening Post
Lancashire Evening Post
The Gazette, Blackpool
Sunderland Echo
Shields Gazette
Hartlepool Mail
Boston Standard

Titles getting updates to its existing iPad app and new Android versions are:

The Scotsman
Yorkshire Post
The News, Portsmouth
Peterborough Telegraph
Halifax Courier
Scarborough News
Northants Telegraph
Northampton Chronicle and Echo