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The New Yahoo! Mobile: Because Not Everyone Has an iPhone

 
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BlackBerry smartphones get love from Google and iPhone gets love from, well, everybody. Most companies that develop mobile apps worry about these two user bases before any other, leaving other mobile phone users out in the cold. According to an announcement out of the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, apparently Yahoo! has stepped up to fill in the gaps.

"Beginning at the end of March, the company plans to roll out a new test version of its mobile Web start page, along with new smartphone applications that consolidate several of Yahoo's mobile services into one application," writes Webware's Josh Lowensohn.

The new mobile app suite will include Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, oneSearch, and a Flickr uploader, all designed to work on any Internet-enabled phone, regardless of model or specs. BlackBerry and iPhone users will get enhanced features like instant notification of new mail, and all smartphone users will get a voice-powered search and a new browser.

Yahoo! is smart to roll out this new bundle if it plans to catch up to Google's suite of mobile apps. Of course the Google grouping still offers more goodies, like news, maps and YouTube, but you have to start somewhere. Google chose to make more apps available to less mobile phones, while Yahoo! offers less options for virtually all phones.

As an interesting aside, Yahoo! chose to leave Android phones completely out of the loop for the time being, although company reps say the an Android app will be released sometime this year.

Deciding how to allocate resources -- toward apps or phones -- is a gamble either way. Who wins this horse race is anybody's guess, though if I had to hedge my bets I'd choose Google.

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