Tribune publishing company reportedly creating own tablet

One of the largest newspaper publishing companies in the world is taking the strategy of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” to a whole new level.

The Tribune Company, which owns such heralded dailies as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun, along with nearly two dozen local TV affiliates, is planning to launch its own proprietary tablet, according to a report from CNN.

The report goes on to say that Tribune would use the device as an incentive to get customers to sign up for long-term newspaper subscriptions. That is, sign a contract and get the Tribune tablet for free or at a very low cost.

The tablet would also be tailored to the user’s locale, providing hometown newspaper content and location-based apps. It is also possible that a wireless carrier could get in on the deal and offer 3G or 4G mobile data access to users.

The publishing giant has reportedly already had discussions with Samsung regarding the manufacturing of the device, along with other hardware makers. However, the whole project is also apparently far behind schedule – the plan was originally to launch the device in test markets this month but there’s no way that is going to happen.

Tribune was late and reluctant to join the mobile and e-publication revolution, but clearly wants to get into the space somehow. This could be a brilliant way to do that.

The company is also in the middle of a bit of a financial crisis and is currently hammering out bankruptcy-induced restructuring. A radical idea could turn things around, but it could also lead to further problems. So far Tribune has said nothing about the tablet project.