Yahoo and MySpace tailor their services for mobile users

Yahoo and MySpace have revamped their portals to make them easier to access from mobile phones, and are working on applications for specific mobile phones

Yahoo and MySpace have revamped their portals to make them easier to access from mobile phones, and are working on mobile applications that optimize presentation on particular phone models.

MySpace will develop mobile applications for Nokia S60 phones and the forthcoming Palm Pre smartphone, it said Tuesday. It already has applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Sidekick and Android platforms, and recently announced it will join the Symbian Foundation and develop an application for that platform, on which Nokia's S60 is based.

The updated version of Yahoo's mobile portal is currently in beta testing, and will go live in March, said Marco Boerries, Yahoo's executive vice president for connected life, at a news conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday morning.

Yahoo will release an application integrating the new portal with the iPhone in March, and an applet for Java-based smartphones, including models from Nokia and LG, in May. The company is also working on an application for Android, said Boerries, but is not ready to set a release date.

Yahoo's applications and portal can present news feeds, contacts and social-networking updates -- including those from MySpace and Facebook -- in a format tailored for mobile phone displays. The new application is a successor to the Yahoo Go application, swapping the "carousel" interface where the services were arranged in a line for a more iPhone-like presentation, with the icons in a grid. The change makes it easy to access the increased number of icons that have come with the opening of the platform to third-party services based on Yahoo's Blueprint widget framework, said Jeff Pedigo, a solutions architect with Yahoo Europe.

At last year's Congress, Boerries showed a similar vision of the Yahoo portal as a social aggregation service, based around a social, location-aware address book called OneConnect. That was only released for the iPhone, said Boerries, but many of its features have found their way into the new Yahoo mobile application, including the "Pulse" view combining updates from many social-networking services.

MySpace's mobile redesign introduces many of the elements of the main site's recent update to mobile devices, including the color schemes, icons and controls over photo uploads.

Integrating Web sites and services with mobile phones is a growing trend: Skype announced plans on Tuesday to develop an application putting its VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) messaging and calling services on the Nokia N97 smartphone, while Nokia is promoting its own range of Web services through its Ovi portal, many of them tightly integrated with applications on its latest smartphones.

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Peter Sayer

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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