Yahoo relaunched its mobile offering last week, which brings together Yahoo search with some of its other properties, allowing users to access search, news, email, RSS feeds and social networking from one mobile hub.
As part of the mobile site relaunch, Yahoo created an iPhone app, so I’ve been seeing how it shapes up…
As well as the iPhone app, Yahoo has released a new version of its mobile website which should be accessible by more than 300 different devices.
Basically, it’s a mobile version of Yahoo’s web portal and provides links to a number of Yahoo’s web properties, as well as some other popular sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
Yahoo is aiming to make it a starting point for the mobile internet, and sell display ads to its users, though I’ve yet to come across any ads on the service.
It’s a well designed and elegant user interface, and is nice and easy to navigate around, though if you end up adding too many RSS feeds and favourite websites, it could require a lot of scrolling.
The app is divided up into five sections; ‘featured’ displays the latest news and entertainment items, ‘Y! News’ uses the iPhone to find your location and provide relevant content, while the other options include an instant messenger and links to other Yahoo services like mail and Flickr.
The ‘connect’ allows you to add updates from social media sites including Facebook and Twitter:
I tried this with Twitter, and it just provides the latest updates from your Twitter friends. This is useful enough, but it doesn’t provide the option to reply or post Tweets through the app; you need to go to the site on the mobile browser to do this.
It’s likely that Twittering iPhone users will already have apps like Tweetie and Twitterific, or the Facebook app, which offer greater functionality, so this isn’t the most useful part of Yahoo Mobile, though with the option to reply or post updates, it could be.
The news sections is well laid out, and the stories themselves have been well optimised to make them easy to read on a mobile screen, though some useful functions such as linking to related articles, are missing.
The display can be customised as well, allowing you to see more news headlines if you wish, as well as removing thumbnails to improve loading speeds, potentially useful on poorer connections.
Yahoo has produced an excellent mobile app here, managing to combine a lot of features in the same place without making the app too unwieldy to use. It is intended as a starting point for mobile internet use, and it does have all the required features to fulfill that function.
It’s a massive improvement on Yahoo’s previous mobile incarnation, and though there are a few issues here and there, thanks to the options to customise and add your own feeds and links, it could become a very useful mobile portal.