Today Tribune Company is announcing the final release of Mosaic by Tribune; an application optimized for Windows 7 touch-capable devices, but will work on regular Windows PCs too. Tribune owns a variety of newspapers across the United States including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and 5 others, as well as a number of broadcast entities under WGN. Mosaic represents a collaboration between Microsoft, Clarity and Tribune to bring a unique reading experience for “premium” Tribune content to Windows 7 PCs – specifically tablets and slates with multitouch capabilities (although the app can be used on any Windows 7 desktop and laptop PC too) as well as Windows Phone too. I fired up Mosaic on my ASUS EP121 Eee Slate PC (read Ben’s hands-on with the EP121 here).
Mosaic provides two types of experiences for reading content within the app: a tile-based experience and a dashboard-like experience. The app by default will start up in the tile-based experience where each article is represented by an image from within the article. You can navigate left and right by sliding your finger to the left or right in the app.
TIP: If you navigate all the way to the left and hold, it will refresh and check for new content (see below screenshot).
You can tap on any of the tiles to see the article title and if you want to read the article, you tap a second time to go to that article.
When you are reading an article, 1/3 of the screen is dedicated for content navigation while the other 2/3 is the article. On the article, you can use your finger to navigate up and down to read the article. You can also use pinch and zoom to increase the size of the text. On the content navigation side of the screen, you can navigate by a variety of sorting for the content such as all, the last 24 hours, and the last week. This makes it easy to jump right in to reading content you’re interested in. The application also works in portrait mode if you want a full screen reading experience.
Read an article you’re interested in sharing with family or friends on Windows Live, Facebook, or Twitter? You can tap the share button on any article at the top right-hand corner to share content.
Now let’s take a look at the dashboard-like experience part of the app. To get into this “mode” from the tile-based experience you can click the forward button at the lower right-hand corner.
Here, you can see several columns of content “streams”. In the center you have “in the news” which is a chronological stream of Tribune content. At the top of the right column you get weather (which utilizes the Sensor and Location Platform in Windows 7 to detect your location) and under it is breaking news.
Then on the left side you have tiles for custom content. Yes – that’s right. Mosaic doesn’t just allow you to only consume premium Tribune content – it allows you to also add content from other websites and services via RSS (third party content)! In my case – I’ve added of course The Windows Blog into Mosaic.
Even with third party content, you can share to Windows Live, Facebook, and Twitter too. Overall – the ability to add third party content makes Mosaic an impressive reader app for a lot of content!
Download Mosaic by Tribune here.
The user experience of Mosaic is powered by Windows Azure. With Windows Azure, a lot of the content and user data is stored in the cloud. Today Tribune is one of the largest Azure Storage accounts worldwide and has one of the largest implementations of Windows Azure!
Mosaic is also available on Windows Phone as well!