In what can only be touted as “better late than never” news, Internet giant Yahoo! is today, at long last, launching its first ever applications designed for Android-based smartphones. There are now a trio of new apps available in the Android Market: a Yahoo! Mail app, Yahoo! Messenger app and a Yahoo! Search widget. Each of these applications have been built “from the ground up” for the Android platform, a company blog post proclaims, and they work on any Android phone running OS version 2.0 or higher.
Alongside the launch of these new Android apps, the company is also announcing the arrival of revamped Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! News mobile Web apps, designed with iPhone and iPhone Touch users in mind.
Yahoo’s Android Apps
Yahoo! says that the new Android applications have been optimized for three particular Android phones: the Motorola Droid, HTC Incredible and the Google Nexus One, however they will run on any Android device with OS 2.0 or higher.
The Mail application functions as a standalone inbox for Yahoo Mail users, and features several integrations with the device’s software itself, including the ability to send emails from the native address book, upload photos as attachments directly from the camera or photo gallery and support for push notifications of new email messages. It also includes attachment viewing capabilities, emoticons, search by sender, recipient, subject and keywords, folder management and spam tools and multi-tasking support.
The new Messenger app, as you may expect, connects you to friends for real-time instant messaging. It, too, runs in the background and alerts you to new messages using push notifications. In select countries, the app will also allow you to send text messages to friends which appear as a part of your IM conversation. (SMS supported in Canada, Indonesia, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, United States and Vietnam).
The Android search widget is only available in the U.S. for now with localized versions launching at a later date. It sits on your Android’s home screen allowing you to either type in or speak your search query. It offers auto-suggest capabilities and brief summaries for breaking news information (for example, a “World Cup” query presents current scores) as well as links to other news, articles and Web pages.
iPhone “Web Apps”
The other new applications arriving today are not native iPhone applications, but rather Web apps supporting the latest standards-based technology, HTML 5.
Yahoo! claims that its new Mail for the mobile Web is the “most advanced mobile web-app” it has ever created, as it makes use of new HTML 5 features like client-side databases and advanced caching capabilities which helps it provide offline access. This makes it seem more like a native application than mobile Web site to end users. The app also supports full search, message and attachment previews as well as attachment viewing.
The app is available in 8 languages across more than 200 countries but is an opt-in experience only while in beta testing. To sign up, visit http://y.ahoo.it/mailbeta from your iPhone or iPod Touch‘s Web browser.
The Yahoo! News Web app has also been redesigned with a new layout, animated visual effects and touch-based navigation capabilities. You can learn more about all the launches here on YouTube.