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News.me for iPad launches today as a paid social magazine

News.me, the latest iPad news reader, wants to outdo apps like Flipboard and Zite by being "smarter" about the content it delivers. The app is free, and you can use it for a week, but after that it is US$0.99 a week or $34.99 a year.

To use the app you need a Twitter account. When you log in, you'll get a list of people you follow, and you'll be able to see what they are reading. You also will get a list of famous twitterers like Arianna Huffington and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. You can add or subtract from the list at any time.

Rather than a regular news app, like Pulse News, News.me depends almost completely on Twitter for sources. There is also a Big News button that gets you more traditional news, and in my tests today I was mostly seeing news from Reuters. People without an iPad can get a daily digest emailed to them. The layout of stories is well done and easy to read. All the on-screen buttons make sense, and there is a minimum of clutter.

It will take time to see if this app makes sense as a way to get news. I've been very happy with Zite, which is free, and allows you to mix Twitter based content with more traditional material. A big test for News.me will be when people use up their free week. Will they sign up, or let it lapse for the free apps that compete?

There are some big guns behind News.me, including the New York Times; the paper helped design the app in its Media Lab. Success will greatly depend on just how smart the app is at delivering relevant news to your iPad. I'd suggest our readers take the free trial and let us know what you think, and more important, if you plan to sign on for a subscription.

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