Here come the new Yahoo! Android apps

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According to recent reports the Android operating system has an impressive 19.9% share of the US mobile web market. That's still some way behind Apple iOS on 58.8% but the iPhone has been around for a lot longer. It should come as no surprise, then, that Yahoo! wants to get a piece of that Android action. Which is why it has now announced the continuing expansion of its reach with the immediate availability of Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger apps plus a Yahoo! Search Widget for Android.

The new apps come complete with new functionality and enhancements that have been optimised for the Android platform, and are available for OS 2.0 or later from the Android Market as free downloads with immediate effect.

The new Yahoo! Mail Android app enables push notification of new messages, full search of email messages, photos uploading direct from the handset camera or gallery, emoticon and rich text formatting support. Importantly for Yahoo!, it also offers advertisers an opportunity to reach a highly engaged mobile audience and Samsung is the first and inaugural advertiser to take advantage of this. The new Yahoo! Messenger Android app enables sending of instant messages via SMS text message, multitasking with the app working and active in the background, push notifications, plus the same photo and rich formatting support as the Mail app.

The Yahoo! Android search widget is essentially just a one-click route to Yahoo! search, accessible from the Android home screen and complete with voice search, 'Search Assist' for suggestions and recommendations, and an auto-locate technology that delivers locally relevant results. At the moment, the search widget is only available in the US though.

"With the availability of our Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Messenger apps for Android" says David Ko, senior vice president, Americas, Audience, Mobile, and Local for Yahoo! "we’re making it easier than ever for consumers to access fast, reliable, and feature-rich Yahoo! experiences across some of the fastest growing platforms in the market."

At the same time, Yahoo! has also upgraded the Yahoo! News service for the iPhone which is now built on HTML5 to give consumers a faster and more sophisticated mobile browsing experience. It includes an all-new layout with animated visual effects and navigation that uses touch gestures. Currently available in the U.S. on the iPhone or iPod Touch browser, the product is expected to become available in additional countries and on additional devices.