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First Look: TIME Mobile, a slick magazine for your iPhone / iPod touch

Instead of sifting through the piles of TIME magazines at your doctor's office, where you don't know who's healthy or unhealthy hands have touched the pages, you now have another option to browse through TIME content on your iPhone.

The recently launched TIME Mobile [iTunes link] app provides a better browsing experience and more content than the mobile version of magazine's website. In addition, the app brings with it support for video, which is lacking on the mobile version of TIME's site and not supported for the iPhone on the full version of the site because the videos are encoded in Flash.

TIME Mobile also brings a new approach for browsing articles. Like Cover Flow view in the iPhone and iTunes, TIME Mobile's "Image Flow" provides some eye candy in front of the meat and potatoes of the article content.

One thing absent in the app is support for offline reading, a useful feature for situations where data connectivity is lacking, such as on an airplane. The USA Today app [iTunes link], which is in the same app genre as TIME Mobile, supports offline reading by tapping on the update button on each section. Perhaps such a feature could be added to TIME Mobile as a paid-for feature, or as for free to those who subscribe to the paper version of the magazine. Update: TIME's app team tells us that offline reading is built-in as part of the app, but for some reason I could not get it to work consistently; we're following up with them to figure out why it's wonky.

Powered by Polar, a mobile publishing provider that also powers BusinessWeek [iTunes link] and CNNMoney [iTunes link] iPhone apps as well as a host of other apps on a variety of mobile platforms, TIME Mobile is available as a free download in the App Store.

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