CES: Yoohoo Yahoo, you're missing the point with cellphones

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Jerry Yang has only been back at the helm of Yahoo for a short time, so the company's founder can't really be blamed for falling behind Google in search, advertising and mobile. But if Yang's presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show was any indication, Yahoo isn't doing much to catch up.

Yang announced the availability of Yahoo Go 3.0, an upgrade to the company's cellphone portal. Compared to what Google has going on in this space, Yahoo's efforts are follow-ups at best and underwhelming at worst.

Go 3.0 is essentially a facelift to the mobile interface, but it's still the same ugly, vertical-scrolling mobile internet experience most people are used to - and which most people do not use.

The system is now open to third-party developers to create "widgets" that can be added to the user's Yahoo Mobile home page. There are some interesting possibilities here, such as the partnership announced with eBay that allows users to make bids through their cellphones more easily. But again, cosmetically it still looks terrible.

What's most surprising is that Yang didn't show off the new interface on a smartphone, which everybody seems to agree is the future of cellphones. With the iPhone and Android showing off full web pages, Yahoo's text-based browsing is starting to look prehistoric.