Hewlett-Packard’s Palm unit has unveiled the TouchPad, its entry into the tablet market in San Francisco today, and Time Inc. is the exclusive magazine publishing partner on the new device, Adweek has learned.
Several of Time Inc.’s titles will be available with a subscription option at launch, including Time, Sports Illustrated and People, to be followed by Fortune and other Time Inc. titles down the road.
Randy Rothenberg, who was recently named Time Inc.’s new chief digital officer, has been working behind the scenes with HP and is expected to be on stage for the unveiling.
The HP unit’s unveiling could be an important step forward for publishers, who have been eager for more gadget makers to join Apple’s iPad in the tablet market. Still, HP is late to the game. Its tablet is expected to hit stores this summer, more than a year after the iPad went on sale, and there’s no guarantee it can unseat Apple, which has angered publishers by refusing to sell subscriptions under terms that are acceptable to them.
Publishers’ key beef is that Apple refuses to share customer information, which they see as critical to their business model. Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin has been particularly vocal on this issue. Terms of the deal between HP and Time Inc. are as yet unknown.