If you’re like me and your morning newspaper of choice is a broadsheet like the Financial Times, or the Daily Telegraph, then you will know how difficult these papers are to read on public transport due to their large format size.  Thanks to a new release from Nokia labs, this is a thing of the past.

The Headlines team have secured deals with major brand publishers like the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney and the Sun in London.  Headlines is in effect a souped up RSS reader, but it has some nice features for those news junkies like me in need of  fix on confined spaces on the tube.  The Financial Times have had their own stand alone news reader for a while (provided by Leiki that also handles story recommendation based on previous articles read), but it does not have the option to download all stories for reading offline – you have to nominate each story for offline reading.

With headlines, a WiFi connection will download over a 100 stories in under a minute – all ready to take with you on the move.  It also has a number of options for offline browsing.

More interesting is the overt advertising that pops up (and blocks half of the story until you dismiss it) every now and then.  This is a joint initiative with Nokia Interactive (the old Nokia Ad Business – a result of the enpocket merger), and the Headlines website even tells you how you can advertise on these screens, the ad formats and guidelines, so Nokia see this channel as a key part of their mobile advertising strategy.

I think the application is first rate, and a shortcut to it has already made it to the active standby screen of my Nokia E61i.  They need to do some more work on the ad pop-ups though.  They remind me of the initial annoying web pop-ups (that we all now block), and except for a Australian Commonwealth Bank ad on the Sydney Morning Herald Pages, the advertising does not appear to be targeted, and there are many house ads at the moment.  Also, the beta5 version I downloaded first installed a “channels” program, then upgraded to headlines – a bit messy with the install but worth persevering.  I note that on the Nokia Headlines there is an update so perhaps this fixes the problem.

I’d encourage you to have a look at the screen shots below, and then head over to Nokia Beta labs to download the application and give it a try.

Story list - New York Timespop-up ad example

splash page - News on your Nokiastory view