The semi-tabloidy London Evening Standard will soon be available as an app on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 phones thanks to a partnership with Kansas City-based Handmark.

The newspaper’s apps will be on display at the Mobile World Congress conference that kicks off Monday morning in Barcelona, Spain.

“Unlike other enhanced mobile websites,” Handmark said in a prepared statement emailed to me, “content within the London Evening Standard mobile application will be refreshed automatically and available offline reading.” That’s far from a first, but what matters is that most newspapers will surely become readable offline, and automatically updated, in the coming year.

Handspring’s apps alsop will integrate social networking capabilities to share articles via Facebook, Twitter, and del.icio.us. A customizable “My Feeds” tab will also enable users to access their own preferred news and feature stories.

There’s one feature that newspapers seem reluctant to implement: Many readers want to be able to automatically follow a specific journalist. Has any newspaper got that feature yet?

Handmark was founded a decade ago, but like many companies recently switched its focus from standalone content delivery to smartphone apps. The company’s financing is not disclosed.