It looks like for the October 5th edition of Entertainment Weekly (EW) magazine, readers will be treated to a special 3G-enabled Android device to deliver tweets and advertising. There will only be 1,000 copies of the digitally enhanced magazine in this limited run where Entertainment Weekly will use the Android device to deliver Twitter messages and help to promote the CW‘s fall lineup.
According to a report on Mashable, “The digital ad is designed to promote The CW network’s fresh lineup of action shows (The Arrow and Emily Owens, M.D.) and, when you open the magazine to the ad, the small LCD screen shows short clips of the two shows and then switches to live tweets from CW’s Twitter account.”
The Android-powered device is essentially just a display with a 3G modem and a SIM card from T-Mobile. The device essentially serves as a digital signage device, similar to a small-scale digital billboard that is advertising directly to the reader.
During our teardown, we discovered a smartphone-sized battery, a full QWERTY keyboard hidden under black plastic tape, a T-Mobile 3G card, a camera, speaker and a live USB port that will accept a mini USB cable, which you can then plug into a computer and recharge the phone. We could also see from the motherboard that the smartphone was built by Foxconn.
Mashable was able to remove the device from its housing inside the covers of EW and was able to hack it to make a phone call over T-Mobile USA’s 3G/4G network. It’s an interesting way to get a ‘free’ smartphone out of buying a magazine. At this time, it’s unclear how long the T-Mobile SIM will remain active for live 3G data and calls.
It’s unclear what the return on investment will be from this trial run from EW and The CW television network. It’s definitely a new era in advertising than what we’re used to seeing on shows like Mad Men.