I got the chance to play with the Symbian version of Yahoo Go, Yahoo’s standalone networked application that offers news, weather, traffic, and Yahoo! search from a handset. It’s fairly full-featured and even supports Yahoo mail.
Am I blown away? No, but for a 1MB handset app it definitely has a lot going for it. It’s very similar to Helio’s HOT service, in a way, and points to where handset applications are going. Rather than offering a blank screen — a dialtone, as it were — manufacturers are trying to grab that initial phone real estate that pops up when you turn the thing on. Whereas that area was once sacrosanct, it is now considered dead space ripe for the monetizing.
The real draw here is the search and maps. Whereas most mapping sites are butchered in handsets, a standalone application like this one allows some relative control over the rendering. The map I brought up of New York was very usable and fairly quick. The rest of the features were gravy, though. Not much substance but fun for a little while.