What would you rather have, an iPhone or a My Phone? Both Microsoft and Yahoo think you want a My Phone. On the iPhone section of its Website detailing the revamped Yahoo Mobile service, due to launch publicly in March, Yahoo marketers try to drum up interest in the new offering by using this headline in its marketing campaign:
From iPhone™ to “my” phone.
The iPhone trademark is taken (notice the ™), but that is not stopping mobile marketers from trying to ride on its coattails. Yesterday, Microsoft announced its own My Phone service for syncing data between your phone and desktop.
If you are a mobile marketer, here is a tip for you. Coming up with something that rhymes with iPhone to peddle your mobile services is not a winning strategy. It is derivative and shows a lack of imagination. It is as though they are trying to say, “Our products are like the iPhone, but only better and more cuddly.” Why even invite the comparison? That two major Web companies decided to characterize their products as the My Phone just goes to show how much the iPhone is defining the industry right now.
So what exactly is new about Yahoo Mobile? The service is built around Yahoo oneConnect, which the company announced at the World Mobile Congress last year. OneConnect is a social address book that pulls together all your contacts, emails, IMs, SMS messages, and activity streams from other social networks and social media sites across the Web. Building on top of oneConnect, Yahoo Mobile will integrate more services such as oneSearch (its mobile-optimized search engine) and Yahoo onePlace (a fancy feed reader that lets you keep track of blog posts, stock updates, sports scores, and the like). The different apps appear in a familiar icon grid, just like on the iPhone.
In March, Yahoo Mobile will be available as a destination on mobile browsers, as a new app for the iPhone, as well as apps for a wide range of smartphones including Blackberriey, Nokia, Windows Mobile, and other handsets. (Yahoo has been working in thisMobileCrunch found some screen shots last November). One noteworthy distinction between the iPhone app and the other smartphone apps is that Yahoo Mobile will incorporate the Opera mobile browser as one of its icons on the smartphone apps. It doesn’t appear that the Opera browser will be an option on the iPhone app. The mobile browser is not something that Apple is too keen on opening up to competition.