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YouTube to feature on wider range of mobile phones

Google's video site to be available on Motorola, LG, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson phones capable of providing high-speed access.

Popular video Web site YouTube is opening up its service to run on millions more phones capable of providing high-speed wireless Internet access, the company said on Thursday.

YouTube, a unit of Google, says it is extending its service from a handful of phones to a broader range of devices used by 100 million consumers worldwide who rely on high-speed networking to stream videos to mobile screens.

"It's basically the full YouTube experience you can get on the desktop--on the phone," said Dwipal Desai, YouTube's mobile-product manager. "We expect it to get fairly popular, from our past experiences."

The Web video sensation now provides only a full mobile-video service to users of Apple's iPhone and to devices sold by Helio, a small U.S. wireless provider that targets young, tech-savvy consumers. Helio is a unit of SK Telecom and EarthLink.

A scaled-down version of YouTube with selected clips is also available to subscribers of the No. 2 mobile service in the United States, Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group.

Desai said in an interview that most of the phones sold by Verizon would not support the full-fledged streaming service and that it is not yet clear when this might change.

The company is also testing software that will make it easier for mobile-phone users to upload videos from phones onto YouTube, potentially allowing for far greater use of video to document people's everyday lives.

Desai did not say how YouTube plans to make money. Typically, YouTube and other Google services wait until they have found a large audience before the company seeks to introduce advertising to help pay for the service.

"Right now, we are focused on building a user base on alternative screens, and we'll look at monetization in the future," he said.

The service will run on select devices from U.S.-based Motorola, South Korea's LG Electronics, Finland's Nokia, and Sony Ericsson, jointly owned by Japan's Sony and Sweden's Ericsson.

YouTube for Mobile will be available in 17 countries and 11 languages.