Amazon has an early holiday gift for Amazon Fire tablet owners; a free six month digital subscription to The Washington Post. The Post, you'll recall, was purchased by Amazon's Jeff Bezos last year.
A new Washington Post app rolled out and you'll need to be using it to take advantage of the free subscription. The old Post app, now called Washington Post Classic, was perfectly adequate. Using it felt like using the mobile view of a website.
The new app jazzes things up, adding more high quality images (the press release calls them "Stunning Visuals" but that may be taking things too far), infographics and links to video.
When reading an article you can tap icons along the right rail to toggle through several font sizes, save a story for later, or open up a sharing window that lets you post a story to various social media sites or share via email.
When you're done with a story you can 'pinch' to back out to the browse view, swipe to go to the next story, or open a menu that has section choices laid out horizontally along the top, with a headline listings for the selected section below.
I just started using it but early thoughts are that it works pretty well and of course looks great on my Fire HDX's screen.
We can look forward to two editions of the 'paper' every day at 5 AM ET and 5 PM ET, with breaking news added during the day. This version of the Post leaves out local Washington, DC news and is aimed at a national audience.
The only negative aspect of this deal is that Amazon is being a little bit creepy and pushing the new Washington Post app out with an OS update, and by default background downloads are set to on. You can of course delete the app (or turn off background downloads) if you aren't interested, but I never like having things planted on my device without my approval. Maybe that's just me.
There's no signup or anything; just fire up the app and start reading. After the initial six months runs out you can subscribe for an additional six months for $1, and when that runs out you'll have to start paying monthly. The monthly fee hasn't been finalized but they're looking at $3-$5 per month, which is a pretty great deal when you consider a digital subscription to the New York Times is $5.00 per week for the tablet edition.
If you haven't received the Fire OS update that pushes the Washington Post app to your tablet (or you deleted the app in a fit of pique and are now reconsidering), you can trigger a download of it from the Amazon website.
The new Washington Post app is only available for Fire tablets for now. Support for other devices will arrive in 2015, but it's unclear if everyone will get this free subscription deal, or if that will remain a perk for Amazon Fire hardware users.