Yahoo is partnering with mobile chipset maker MediaTek to embed smartphone functionality into mid-tier feature phones.
The deal will see services including Yahoo’s Mail, Messenger, News and Finance and Flickr embedded into MediaTek’s MAUI Runtime Environment (MRE) – the firm’s new middleware for content developers that has been adopted by vendors including Cherry Mobile, Spice Group, Spice CSL and Nexian.
MediaTek chairman Ming-Kai Tsai claims the deal will cut device maker’s development costs and speed their time to market. The first devices based on MRE are slated for release in 3Q11, a spokesman told Telecoms Europe.net.
Although the partnership covers global markets, the deal is likely to extend both firm’s presence in the growing markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India, where many users’ first Internet experience would be via mobile, Rose Tsou, senior vice president of Yahoo Asia Pacific said. Devices will also be available in China - the traditional stronghold for devices running MediaTek silicon.
The markets named have experienced an upward mobile usage trend, particularly toward social media, according to ComScore.
Yahoo could also benefit from higher mobile advertising revenues. Research conducted by mobile ad network InMobi found feature phones generated the lion’s share of ad impressions in APAC last year due to their relative affordability in the emerging markets.