Yahoo Makes Its Mobile Bet

Yahoo today opened 2007 with a large bet in Las Vegas.

In an effort to expand what it calls its “mobile Internet leadership,” Yahoo today launched a beta version of Yahoo Go for Mobile 2.0 at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Yahoo Go 2.0 is an application available for download on millions of mobile devices on the market, a Yahoo spokesperson told

The application’s interface features a carousel design for user navigation between a selection of Yahoo widgets, including ones for e-mail, local search and maps, news, sports, finance, entertainment, weather, photo sharing from Yahoo property Flickr and search.

Each widget includes a “command center” where users can manipulate syndication feeds to access more articles, use watch lists to track topics of interest or add new content published in RSS, according to a statement.

Considering the U.S. mobile Internet market, the trumpeted announcement is a gamble for Yahoo.

Compared to Europe and Asia, American smartphone adoption is still very low. Even though it’s grown, American users have been slow to add new applications to their devices.

But at least one analyst told she puts the odds in Yahoo’s favor. JupiterKagan’s wireless and mobile marketing analyst Julie Ask said Yahoo isn’t making a wild gamble here, but a calculated investment on a growing trend.

Ask said that while only about 3 percent of mobile users browse the Internet from their phones today, faster networks and faster processors will change all that in the months and years to come.

“It’s a great time for Yahoo to get started,” Ask said.

The largest obstacle to Yahoo’s success, Ask said, will likely be the mobile service providers. They’re trying to charge users for many of the services Yahoo wants to provide for free at the cost of advertisers. But Ask said a similar conflict was carried over the early days of the Internet and that open and free has proved to work better.

Along with its major news, Yahoo also announced a series of partnerships to bring Yahoo Go for Mobile 2.0 to mobile device manufactures, including Samsung, Motorola, RIM and 3 Group.

Yahoo also said it expects to distribute Yahoo Go 2.0 through mobile operators worldwide, including Bharti Airtel, DiGi Telecommunications (Malaysia), Globe Telecom, Hutchison India, Idea Cellular, Rogers Wireless, Smart Communications, Taiwan Mobile and 3 Group in the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.

Not to be outdone by its closest search rival, Google today announced a partnership with Samsung to enable mobile phone users to access to Google products and services, according to a statement.

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