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Following our recent conversation with Verve Wireless’ Greg Hallinan, the company announced today that it has expanded its list of newspaper partners to include MediaNews Group, A.H. Belo Corp., Hearst Corp. and Cox Newspapers.

This will bring The Denver Post, the Dallas Morning News, The Palm Beach Post and into its roster. With this list, it’s becoming a powerhouse for building mobile Web sites and apps for local media companies. All totaled, it now mobilizes about 450 properties and covers the top 200 U.S. markets.

The other notable part of this release plays off Hallinan’s main point in our last discussion: utilizing the iPhone 3.0 upgrades to build better Web apps. In other words, the enhanced capabilities of the Safari Web browser now make it an attractive place to build mobile Web sites — having some functionality previously reserved for more resource-intensive native apps.

So as projected in the last conversation, Verve will now offer publishers an easy way to create a specialized version of their mobile site that takes advantage of these new Safari capabilities. These include location awareness, a shortcut for users to place a bookmark on their home screen, and the rich page layout and navigation fit for an iPhone screen.

This should be a compelling proposition for newspapers and should lower the barriers for them to create highly functional mobile sites. The press release, in fact, calls out the same newspaper we used in our last post, indicating the demand for mobile news content from iPhone users in certain geographies.

“The demand for this new module was stemming from news organizations like The Orange County Register,” reports the release, “who see in excess of 40% of their mobile web traffic coming from iPhones.”

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