Helio, the U.S. mobile service provider formed by EarthLink and SK Telecom, continues to line up content services prior to launch, announcing on Thursday a tie-up with Yahoo.
The partnership means that the home screen of Helio phones will feature Yahoo search, where users can search Yahoo mobile Web content and images as well as Helio's content such as music videos and games, the companies said. The home screen will also include a Yahoo news feed on subjects that users choose.
The phones will also feature a variety of other Yahoo services, such as shortcuts to information about restaurants, movie times, sports scores, and the weather. Users will have full access to their Yahoo Mail accounts and can use Yahoo Messenger.
Helio also said it will make Yahoo Go Mobile available to customers. Yahoo introduced the offering, which for now is only available on certain Nokia phones, earlier this year. Yahoo Go Mobile synchs phone book entries and photos between a user's mobile phone and Yahoo account and alerts mobile phone users of new e-mail messages in their Yahoo mailboxes.
Search engines and content providers have signed countless deals recently with phone makers and operators in an effort to reach mobile users. Earlier this month, AOL launched a mobile browsing service that tweaks Web pages for better viewing on mobile phones. Vodafone and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications are among companies that have made deals to incorporate Google's search on phones. Hutchison Whampoa's 3 Group has an agreement with Microsoft to deliver MSN Messenger and Hotmail to 3's mobile customers.
Helio says it is targeting "young, tech-savvy consumers" with a mobile service that will launch in the U.S. in the first half of this year. Helio doesn't own or operate its own network but resells service from network operators. In February, it introduced the handsets it will initially sell and described a collaboration with MySpace that is designed to extend the social networking site to Helio mobile users.