You'd think that, since The New York Times is now making readers pay for full access to its offerings through smartphone and tablet apps, it would strive to make those utilities work well. So far, though, that hasn't been the case.
Those who own phones that run Android, Google's mobile operating system, have been the hardest hit since the paywall launched in late March. Many users have dealt with the app freezing or crashing on a regular basis, in some cases making it essentially unusable. A visit to Android Market, the store for apps that run on the operating system, shows that the vast majority of commenters report problems with the app, leading to harsh—and comic—reviews.
The most common grievance reported on Android Market was best summed up by one user, who described the Times app as "force close city." Another, with the handle dK, got to the general feeling of many users: "Hilariously buggy. Almost unuseable (sic). Once the NYT started charging I would have thought they'd make sure the app worked."
The Times' Android app isn't the only one that has given the newspaper headaches. Its iPad app has also been known to crash on users and require reinstallation. Kristin Mason, the Times' communications manager, said that the company issued a new release of its iPad app a few weeks ago that "added stability" to its functionality. Mason said the Times is "continuing to make modifications."
Regarding the company's Android app, Mason said that the Times is “aware of the problems” and is "working to get it resolved."
They should probably do so quickly—with 200,000 apps now available in the Android Marketplace, the user base isn't shy expressing its feelings about the Times app's lackluster performance. As "Nathaniel" wrote on May 9: "Apparently this app was written by some NYT copy editors during their lunch break. It won’t even run long enough to crash."