Nokia makes more room for Yahoo

New smart phones from the Finnish handset maker come with Yahoo messaging, search and Web browsing.

Ben Charny Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Ben Charny
covers Net telephony and the cellular industry.
Ben Charny
2 min read
Nokia has begun selling advanced cell phones with Yahoo messaging, search and Web browsing embedded inside, in a move to spur wireless data usage and sales of smart phones.

The Finnish handset maker said Tuesday that the first three smart phones with Yahoo's popular software onboard are Nokia models 6680, 6681 and 6630, which are now widely available in Europe and Asia. Nokia said additional models will be unveiled on Wednesday.

Nokia 6680
Credit: Gizmodo
The 6680 is one of three Nokia
phones to feature embedded
Yahoo e-mail and IM.

Smart phones are handsets that are always connected to the Internet and that have PDA-like processing power for taking on much more complex tasks than a typical cell phone.

The deal is another example of how handset makers are turning to Yahoo, Microsoft, America Online and other Internet messaging and browsing giants to spur cell phone use and sales of next-generation handsets. The rationale is that if consumers can use an interface they're already familiar with, they will be more apt to use a phone's Internet connection, and by doing so generate new revenues for cellular operators.

Tuesday's "agreement is a progressive step in the adoption of an online lifestyle," Nokia Vice President Harry Santamaki said in a statement. "We are providing consumers with a familiar way of accessing the Internet and Yahoo e-mail."

U.S. cell phone operators believe that Internet search, e-mail, games and other features will combat the steep drops in revenue from voice calls, now a commodity because of fierce competition. But for years, such services have been a tough sell in the United States.

The Nokia-Yahoo agreement is also meant to spur smart phone sales, which remain relatively light. The high-end handsets make up less than a percentage of the world's more than 1.2 billion cell phones. But smart phones powered by operating systems from Microsoft and Symbian, a company partly owned by Nokia, are expected to become much more common over the next decade if handset prices drop.