- Yahoo this week introduced its first self-branded smartphone as the Verizon-owned company seeks to boost subscribers to its Yahoo Mobile cellular service. The Yahoo Mobile ZTE Blade A3Y sells for $50 and connects to Verizon's cellular network as part of Yahoo Mobile's unlimited phone service, per an announcement emailed to Mobile Marketer.
- The purple-colored smartphone runs on Android 10 and comes preinstalled with Yahoo's family of apps, which include email, news, finance, sports and weather. Yahoo also provides access to its recently launched "watch together" service that lets people view video programming while having a free video chat with friends and family.
- The introduction of the Yahoo smartphone comes as Verizon seeks more ways to monetize the web services brand after acquiring it for $4.8 billion in 2016.
Yahoo's introduction of its first smartphone aims to expand its user base among budget-minded consumers in a vertical integration of services from parent company Verizon. The Yahoo smartphone may entice a broader group of consumers to sign up for Yahoo Mobile, generating subscription revenue for Verizon while also expanding the reach of Verizon Media, the company's content and advertising sales group that oversees Yahoo. For mobile marketers, the bigger audience may lead them to allocate more of their media dollars to Yahoo's various content channels, including Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance.
While the first Yahoo smartphone works on Yahoo Mobile, the carrier also is available to consumers who prefer other smartphone brands like Apple's newly launched iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. The iPhone Pro Max 12 and 12 Mini will be available next month when Apple starts shipping more of its expanded lineup. Verizon's 5G network later this year will be included with all Yahoo Mobile plans and be available on compatible devices, per its announcement.
The introduction of the Yahoo smartphone comes as Verizon seeks more ways to monetize the web services brand after acquiring it for $4.8 billion in 2016. The acquisition happened as rivals like AT&T were expanding into digital media with acquisitions of cable and satellite TV distributors, along with TV channels and film studios. A year after acquiring Yahoo, Verizon combined the company with AOL and rebranded it as Oath to distribute content and sell advertising. Verizon last year renamed Oath as Verizon Media, whose brands include Yahoo, AOL, TechCrunch and Engadget.
Yahoo's smartphone has a 5.45-inch 720p HD display, 2 gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of storage, a rear fingerprint sensor and a facial recognition feature to unlock it automatically. The phone works with Yahoo Mobile's 4G LTE service, which has an unlimited talk, text and data plan for $40 a month with no annual contract.