India’s first mobile newspaper is en route

The seemingly futuristic prediction that the newspaper of tomorrow will be delivered on your mobile phone today has come true. Nokia has teamed up with Malayalam Manorama to launch a “vernacular news portal” or “mobile newspaper” on all of its GPRS-enabled handsets.

TechTree and EFY report that users with Nokia GPRS-enabled handsets in Kerala will be able to access both national and international news in their native language through the mobile service. Sports, travel, music, astrology, and movies are some of the news categories that will be accessible through the vernacular news portal.

The mobile newspaper service will be offered in 10 languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Mararthi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. The application supports ‘Search’ and ‘Mobile advertising’ functions and for the first time, makes the Internet and search options available to non-English literates in India.

“Ease-of-use is a key Nokia proposition. As a leader, we are continuously working towards providing features and services that simplify the lives of our users,” said Devinder Kishore, marketing director for Nokia India. Kishore added that since Internet penetration in rural areas is still relatively low, Nokia would take advantage of the higher mobile penetration in launching the mobile newspaper.

After sending an SMS with the message “MM” to 5555, users will receive a URL to download the mobile newspaper icon and access the service. The news will be refreshed every 30 minutes.

Nokia’s vernacular news portal arrives at a time when the publishing industry is preparing for the highly anticipated e-paper. With the rise of convergence devices and the print-to-online transition, advances such as the mobile newspaper have great potential to revolutionize the newspaper industry.

Links courtesy Editors’ Weblog

Also read: The newspaper in the palm of your hand

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