January 18, 2016 Last Updated 11:43 am

App updates: WhatsApp goes free, will introduce new services; La Presse+ gets major update

Magzter has joined the rush to disaggregate content from magazine titles inside its digital newsstand, offering articles now reformatted for a better digital device reading experience

The Facebook owned messaging app, WhatsApp, announced that it would go free, founder Jan Koum announced online today. The app will not, the founder promised, now depend on advertising.

Whatsapp-icon-150“For many years, we’ve asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year,” Koum said. “As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well. Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

So, what will the business model be? It sounds like WhatsApp will move from a subscription model to a freemium model, with add-ons that the customer will buy in order to use additional services.

“Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no. Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam.”

The Mountain View-based company was acquired by Facebook in February of 2014 for approximately $19 billion, an eye-popping figure then, as now. But the app’s user base is said to be around 900 million people.

The French-Canadian newspaper La Presse today issued what it called a major update for its tablet app, La Presse+.

Refonte majeure de l’application visant à améliorer l’expérience de navigation dans les éditions. L’affichage des écrans sera plus rapide et la transition d’un écran à l’autre plus fluide, particulièrement sur les appareils iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini et iPad mini 2. Major overhaul of the application to improve the browsing experience in the editions. The display screens will be faster and the transition from one screen to another smoother, especially on devices iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad4, iPad mini and iPad mini 2.

It looks Magzter has decided to go in the same direction as Texture and other platforms that are attempting to disaggregate content from magazines to supply readers with individual articles in hopes of luring them to explore those magazines further.

Magzter’s all-you-can-read solution is called Magzter GOLD can costs $7.99 per month. Of course, unlike Texture, all the magazines inside the Magzter newsstand are PDF replicas (while only a portion of those inside Texture are). So, taking articles from this rather unreadable environment, and reformatting them for better digital device reading is a definite step in the right direction.

What’s New in Version 6.0

  • Introducing Articles – featuring an exciting showcase of magazine articles from today’s most popular magazines! Digital magazine articles have never looked this good!
  • New Reading Experience – an iPhone-friendly reading experience for the articles section.
  • A powerful new Global Search functionality – now you can search for magazines & articles by keywords associated with magazine content!
  • Faster download speeds and other performance enhancements.

AquafadasWave-splashAquafadas has updated both its digital edition previewer app, Aquafadas Viewer, and its own content app, Aquafadas Wave.

The Wave app supplies tips and tutorials on how to create elements of a digital edition.

There are currently three editions of the company’s own digital publication inside the app. But the app also includes links to interesting examples of the work of publishers using the Aquafadas digital publishing platform.

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