Yahoo and Research In Motion are working to extend and enhance the way Yahoo services are delivered to BlackBerry devices, the companies plan to announce Wednesday at the CTIA Wireless 2006 conference in Las Vegas.
Yahoo and RIM have an existing partnership which gives BlackBerry users a basic level of access to their Yahoo Web mail and instant messenger accounts via a "handful" of carriers, said Marco Boerries, Yahoo's senior vice president of connected life. The plan now is to provide a much tighter integration between Yahoo services and the BlackBerry platform, and to expand the offerings to about 160 carriers in 60 countries, he said.
The move reflects users' increasing demands to access a wide variety of Internet services on their mobile devices. Yahoo, a major provider of online services and content for over 10 years, recognizes that increasingly users are no longer satisfied with accessing their Yahoo services and data solely via a PC. This is why it introduced earlier this year its Yahoo Go strategy to provide its services via multiple devices, including TVs and mobile phones. Meanwhile, RIM, which has built its name on allowing users to access their corporate e-mail accounts on the BlackBerry devices, knows it has to give users hooks into other types of online services to maintain its popularity.
To this end, the companies will significantly enhance the Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger experiences on the BlackBerry platform. E-mail will be delivered to BlackBerry devices in real time, and synchronization of in-boxes will be improved, so that the experience is similar to the one BlackBerry users have with their corporate e-mail, Boerries said. Access to Yahoo's online calendar and address book services will also be provided. "It's going to be a new level of quality: a corporate grade solution for consumers," Boerries said.
Likewise, the version of Yahoo Messenger available on the BlackBerry will have more features, such as emoticons, he said. A button to link to Yahoo's search engine services will also be featured. Later this year, the companies plan to also offer the Yahoo Go for Mobile suite of Yahoo services on the BlackBerry platform.
Accessing Yahoo services on the BlackBerry will be free of charge. More information on the availability of these services will be posted at http://www.blackberry.com.