Yahoo's Go Mobile Comes Calling

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Yahoo made its Go Mobile cell-phone portal service available in the U.S. for the first time this week, working with AT&T and Cingular Wireless to offer Go Mobile on a Nokia handset.

Go Mobile was announced last month at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas as part of Yahoo's Go service, which lets consumers access Yahoo content on a PC, TV, or mobile phone. The idea is to let people get to their e-mail, contacts, calendar, personal photos, and other content through a single portal available in different forms on those devices.

Yahoo is offering the Go Mobile software preloaded on Nokia 6682 handsets for the Cingular network that are sold by AT&T in its traditional 13-state service area. Phones with the service will also be sold by Cingular in select stores in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; and Glendale, California, according to AT&T spokesperson Sue McCain. AT&T, formerly SBC, is the majority owner of Cingular and a sales agent for the mobile operator. AT&T is selling the phones as a way to extend users' AT&T/Yahoo broadband experience to mobile phones, McCain says. Cingular's role in selling them will probably increase, she says.

The Nokia 6682, a GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) phone with a digital music player, a removable media slot, and a 1.3-megapixel camera, is already for sale to Cingular subscribers. Users with existing 6682s can download the Go Mobile software from Yahoo's Web site, says Nicole Leverich, a spokesperson for Yahoo, in Sunnyvale, California.

Subscription Not Required

Users don't have to be subscribers to AT&T and Yahoo's co-branded broadband service to use Go Mobile. They can sign on with either an AT&T/Yahoo broadband e-mail address or one for Internet-based Yahoo Mail, Leverich says. The phone can save the subscriber's password for easier use or require it on every login, depending on customer choice. There is no charge for the Go Mobile service, but using it will require a Cingular data plan.

In addition to e-mail, contacts, and calendar, users can look at their Yahoo personal photo collections on the phone and automatically upload the pictures they take with the phone to Yahoo, Leverich says. Go Mobile also offers news, weather, and sports customized for the individual user as well as Web, image and local search. Some Yahoo portal content that would be available via through a PC or TV, such as movie clips, will not be available via Go Mobile, she says.

Yahoo recently began preloading Go Mobile on several Nokia phones on sale at retail stores in Europe, Leverich says. At CES, Yahoo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Terry Semel said the service would be available soon on the hot-selling Motorola Razr. The company ported the software first to the Symbian OS, used on Nokia phones, but is also working with Motorola on a Java version for its phones, Leverich says. Go Mobile will be available on the Razr by the end of this year, she says.

The 6682 is available through AT&T's sales channels for $199.99 with a two-year Cingular service plan, after a $50 mail-in rebate from Nokia.

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