NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc. <YHOO.O> and Google Inc. <GOOG.O> are set to roll out new wireless services, taking advantage of advanced networks and cellphones to provide features similar to those available on computers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Yahoo soon will introduce a cellphone it will sell through a partnership with SBC Communications <SBC.N>, according to SBC executives. The phone will take Yahoo a step closer to linking music, photos and email with consumers' existing online accounts, address books and preferences, the paper said.
Google is tailoring some Internet services for use on wireless devices. Starting Monday, consumers using some types of cellphones will be able to access satellite maps wirelessly as they can on the Google Maps service, the paper said.
The moves will mark a further step in the evolution of cellphones from communications devices to minicomputers that can be used for email, Web browsing, music downloading and even watching TV, in addition to calls. Handset manufacturers have already started to produce single devices that combine cellphones, Web surfing, wireless email and MP3 players.
SBC and Yahoo have had a partnership since 2001 and have steadily expanded it beyond traditional telecom and online services to merge video, wireless and phone services. SBC executives said the SBC-Yahoo phone, which will be manufactured by Nokia <NOK1V.HE>, is expected to be available as soon as early next year and will cost $200 to $300.
Operating on the Cingular Wireless network, which is co-owned by SBC and BellSouth Corp. <BLS.N>, the phone will also be an MP3 player, a 1.3 megapixel camera and will have a removable memory card.
Last year, Google began letting U.S. consumers get search results by sending text messages from their cellphones.
Starting Monday, many consumers whose phones support Java software will be able to download the Google Local application. From there, they can conduct searches for businesses or services in a specific geographical location and view the search results plotted on a map.