A Yahoo Phone? Seriously? Yes. In Japan.


Photo: itmedia.co.jp

Here’s something I never really expected to see. Courtesy of the folks over at Softbank, and with some hardware help from Sharp, comes a Yahoo Phone. Set for release in Japan in late September, the Android-powered Softbank 009SH Y is the Yahoo doppleganger of the Aquos Phone 009SH.

Only it has a ‘Y.’

You were probably wondering why yourself, right? Why a Yahoo Phone?

Well despite the fact that Yahoo has seen better days in most regions, the service is still the dominant search engine in Japan, as we pointed out last month in our post on Baidu Japan’s continuing troubles. The most recent numbers we’ve seen showed it holding 56.2 percent market share, although of course it is powered by Google these days.

As for mobile, Softbank says that the home page for the smartphone edition of Yahoo Japan has seen six times the page views this June when compared to the same period a year ago. And of course, it’s expected to see even more traffic with initiatives such as this one.

For me, part of the lure of Android phones (were I to get one) is the fact that I’m a heavy user of many Google services, and the close integration is a big selling point. Similarly I’d imagine that for many casual internet/mobile users in Japan, the recognizable Yahoo brand would be seen as a trustworthy, with the Yahoo services offered being a similar draw.

Nonetheless, if I were one of the folks at Mountain View, I’d find it difficult not to snicker thinking that in Japan both the Yahoo Phone and Yahoo search are now powered by Google.

[Softbank via Techcrunch]

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