Knight Ridder’s concept iPad app – bridging the paper-digital divide. In 1994.

April 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Apps, Media, Technology

Comments Off on Knight Ridder’s concept iPad app – bridging the paper-digital divide. In 1994.

Check out this video, showcasing the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab’s concept tablet news device. With personalised news feeds, articles read aloud and even voice command recognition, it sounds like it could be a news application being developed for the iPad right now.

Only this is 1994.

Imagine where digital news distribution could be by now if, in 1994, Knight Ridder had been able to build that “bridge of familiarity to get us from the ink on paper product into the digital world”.

Maybe a media company could have come up with a user experience like Flipboard a decade ago, or been innovative enough to create a new communication platform like Twitter, instead of constantly being left behind or playing catch up. Suffice to say, the industry would pretty well know by now what works and what doesn’t.

Instead, the merits of all manner of form and function in the digital news process are still being discussed, tested, failed miserably and, if we’re lucky, refined until successful.

Roger Fidler, director of the Knight Ridder Information Design Lab, says in the video:

“This is one of the most exciting places to be in the newspaper industry today. This is where I think we’re going to play a role in changing history.”

Maybe an idea before its time, but one that really could have changed the history of digital news if it had succeeded.

I wonder where Roger Fidler ended up. (UPDATE: Roger Fidler is Program Director for Digital Publishing at RJI, the Reynolds Journalism Institute)

and from Wikipedia:
“Knight Ridder had a long history of innovation in technology. It was the first newspaper publisher to experiment with videotex when it launched its Viewtron system in 1982.”

UPDATE: This was on Mashable in August 2009!
Thanks to @garykemble for the heads up.
And in an interview that same year, Roger Fidler said the tablet concept was never built because screens were too heavy and required too much power. See the May 2009 Bloomberg interview with Roger Fidler here: http://bloom.bg/iiMio0