The popularity of tablets is on the rise and tablet-editions of newspapers abound. Perhaps to up the ante or to give themselves an edge over the other publications, it has been rumored that the Tribune Co. has plans to release a free Android tablet.

This idea is similar to the one that the Philadelphia Media Network had about offering discounted tablets if readers bought a one or two year subscription to their newspapers, but instead of discount tablets, Tribune Co. is thinking about offering the tablets up for free (or at a highly subsidized price)!  The rumors are also saying that Tribune Co. is working with Samsung to develop the tablets which are said to be running on a modified version of Android.Naturally, neither company was willing to comment on this although we are curious as to how this deal will work out. Will it be a tablet specific to Tribune Co., or will it be a packaged deal where a two year subscription will net you a free tablet along with Tribune Co.’s digitzed content?

Newspapers who have tried providing their own tablet have failed spectacularly in the past, mainly because the user experience is usually bad (remember wePad?). That is because media companies aren’t software companies, and they end up being way over their heads when it comes to launching hardware products. That time may come when software and hardware get “commoditized” to death, but this seems early.

Filed in Rumors >Tablets. Read more about Samsung.

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