Yahoo, MediaTek aim to augment feature phones

Melissa Chua
02 Jun 2011

Yahoo and Taiwanese mobile chipset maker MediaTek have announced a partnership that will see the two collaborate to give feature phones some smartphone-like functionality.

The deal will see Yahoo’s services such as Yahoo Mail, Messenger, News and Finance and Flickr available on MediaTek’s chipsets based on the latter’s new middleware technology dubbed MAUI Runtime Environment (MRE). According to MediaTek, MRE technology allows services and content to be developed and downloaded to feature phones.

The collaboration will see feature phones with smartphone functionalities released in several of Asia’s emerging markets including China, the traditional stronghold for MediaTek chipset-based devices.

MediaTek will work with device partners Cherry Mobile, Spice Group, Spice CSL and Nexian to develop MRE-based products. A MediaTek spokesperson told Telecom Asia that MRE-based devices are slated for release starting Q3.

Rose Tsou, senior VP of Yahoo Asia Pacific said at the partnership announcement that the deal would help both firms extend their presence in the growing markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India, where many users’ first Internet experience would be via mobile.

These same markets have experienced an upward mobile usage trend, particularly toward social media, according to ComScore.

The partnership is expected to give Yahoo a chance to sell more advertising in these markets. Research conducted by mobile ad network InMobi found feature phones laid claim to the lion’s share of ad impressions in APAC last year due to their relative affordability in the emerging markets.

The two firms’ product development roadmap includes the Android platform in addition to MRE.

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