The Tablet Newspaper Idea from 1994

Tablets and newspapers in digital form are no longer something extraordinary, but in 1994, when several researchers from Knight Ridder came up with the idea of a tablet newspaper, the concept seemed out of this world.

Knight Ridder used to be America’s second largest newspaper publisher, so the interest of this company in modernizing the newspaper was quite understandable.While still claiming that the magazines published on paper would survive in the digital age, the researchers were trying to make the newspapers more appealing. Roger Fidler, one of the representatives of Knight Ridder, claimed that the newspaper has to evolve, as all the other means of human communication did.

The focus was on making the tablet newspaper as intuitive as possible, so people know right away how to interact with it. As a novelty factor, news would become interactive, with sound and animation. Sound bites, video clips and snippets that reveal entire stories when clicked on were believed to give a new face to portable mass media. Looking where we stand now and what tablets are capable of, we can surely admit that the beliefs of these researchers were true.

In the above video the capabilities of such a concept are explained, along with the benefits it would bring. Besides newspaper content in digital format, the tablet was also supposed to display multimedia files. There would be headlines which revealed more detailed articles if clicked on, as well as images and maps that could be zoomed in.

According to the researchers, the multimedia content would be replayed for as many times as desired, not to mention that in the case of video clips, slow motion playback would be possible. Another interesting part of the concept is the possibility of creating a personal profile on the tablet newspaper, so each user gets only the news that he or she is interested in. All these ideas are integrated into modern products. It would not be a mistake to claim that Knight Ridder envisioned precursors to YouTube, StumbleUpon, and of course, online newspapers. Sharing the news with friends, a concept currently integrated into Facebook, among other social networks, was also planned as a feature of the tablet newspaper.

Current tablets are capable of doing so much more, but thinking that these researchers came up with the idea 16 years before Apple’s iPad saw the light the day makes them real visionaries. They did not only predict the use of e-ink, but also the possibility of watching videos and even TV channels on such a tablet.

If you liked this post, please check Google’s Online Newspaper Archive Search and the eBook concept.

Via: Paleo Future