RealTime IT News

Google, Yahoo Get More Mobile

Yahoo and SBC Communications are moving closer toward the initiative they announced a year ago that will offer co-branded Cingular wireless phones that connect to mobile Yahoo services.

An SBC spokeswoman confirmed that the two companies are on track with development of the mobile phones and services, which are expected to launch in early 2006. The companies had hoped to offer the first new products this year.

She said that the alliance is working on not only mobile phones, but a variety of connected devices.

The original announcement promised that, "The extended relationship will enable consumers to simplify their lives by allowing them to access personalized entertainment and communications content from almost anywhere, with a consistent user experience across a variety of connected devices."

"What you see on your SBC Yahoo Internet home page is coming to a TV set, wireless phone and PDA near you," Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of SBC, said in a statement released last November.

At that time, the companies announced that SBC Yahoo branding would extend to a new home entertainment service delivering Web-based broadband and video content to TVs and stereos, including video on demand, LAUNCHcast Internet Radio and photos, while providing remote access to personal video recording.

They planned to create an SBC Yahoo portal for SBC Wi-Fi and integrate the branding into the control panel of their DSL service. They also planned a "one mailbox" for all e-mail, wireline and wireless voicemail and faxes. The spokeswoman said there was no update on those plans.

Yahoo also works with Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. In June, Yahoo and Sprint released Yahoo Mail for Mobile, a downloadable client available on a subscription basis for several phones.

On Monday, Google released a beta version of Google Local for mobile, a Java-based downloadable client for mobile phones that includes special features, such as click-to-call and saved search history.

The application includes access to info from Google Maps, such as driving directions that can include satellite imagery. Local search lets users type a query seeking a local business within the current map's area.