Media

Instapaper founder launches iPad magazine, doubts it would work on Android

Instapaper founder Marco Arment is trying his hand at publishing.

The Magazine, his new iOS-focused Newstand app, is a tech-focused publication for geeks. At $1.99 a month, The Magazine will run four articles every two weeks, though Arment says he hopes to increase those numbers as time goes on.

The effort marks a significant, if ironic, detour for the Instapaper maker, who has made his name creating an app that pulls content from other sites, often with significant controversy.

Also controversial, perhaps, will be Arment’s decision to pan Android in The Magazine’s initial release. Like Instapaper, which didn’t appear on Android until four years after it was on iOS, The Magazine was developed with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch in mind. Why the lack of Android love? Arment points both to development costs and the Android ecosystem.

“A simultaneous Android release would have made the first version much more expensive and time-consuming to develop before I find out whether this is actually going to be a sustainable business,” he said in an email to VentureBeat

But the bigger problem, Arment says, is Android itself, which he doesn’t see as a viable home to The Magazine’s business model. “By not addressing that market, I’m certainly missing out on some revenue, but I’m not sure I’m missing out on much profit,” he said by email.

While Arment isn’t yet sure whether The Magazine experiment will work out, he says the effort is a good representation of the future of online content (assuming people pay for it, anyway).

“This is what a modern magazine can be, not a 300 MB stack of static page images laid out manually by 100 people,” he wrote earlier today, taking a stab at print magazines with lackluster digital offerings.

But Arment appears to have an unconventional idea of what “modern” means, as The Magazine, with the exception of a few images, will be almost entirely free of things like slideshows, infographics, and video.

“These multimedia features can all be valuable, and they have their places in other publications, but not here,” he wrote.