National Public Radio has the fourth most popular news app in the iTunes store in the U.S., but now it is taking some of that Appalicious goodness to the mobile browser. Today it launched a new version of its mobile website at http://m.npr.org/ which looks like a stripped down version of the iPhone app but doesn’t require a download.
The redesigned NPR mobile site shows top stories and lets you browse by programs or stations. When you click on the “Listen now” button it starts streaming a podcast via the Quicktime player on the iPhone. You can also add a program to your playlist. And if you want to listen to live radio, you can also search for stations by call letter, city or zip code and then it starts streaming that station.
NPR is also developing a similar Android app which will have the ability to play in the background while you use other apps or surf the Web on your phone.
As more sites update their mobile Websites for a better browsing experience on Webkit-based mobile browsers (such as those found on the iPhone and Android), there will be less need to download specific apps because you can always just bookmark the page as an icon. Although the mobile site tries to get you to download the app as well.