AOL Follows The Mobile Trail

Aiming to keep pace with wireless inroads made by Yahoo and Google, AOL Tuesday unveiled new mobile versions of its online services within a revamped WAP portal.

The upgrades include more mobile-friendly incarnations of AOL Search, Mail, MapQuest, and AOL Instant Messenger, among other features from AOL's home page. The new mobile search, for instance, will offer results that are more tailored to users on the go, such as driving directions and click-to-call options linked to services like MapQuest and Moviefone.

A mobilized myAOL service will enable users to personalize the AOL mobile site by selecting news headlines, pictures, and RSS feeds to their liking. Separately, AOL plans to launch AOL MyMobile, a new application similar to Yahoo's Go service, by year's end.

It will allow Mobile Windows users to download a range of AOL services such as Mail, Cityguide and Search, and will remember recent requests to help speed searches on the fly. Recently acquired mobile ad platform Third Screen Media will supply targeted advertising to AOL MyMobile.



A new mobile widget for GPS-enabled phones will also allow AIM users to locate each other, marking a step by AOL into the mobile social networking area pioneered by companies like Dodgeball and Zingku.

As part of the new mobile push, AOL is also formally launching Winamp Remote, letting people access and listen to music stored on their computers from on their cell phones.

"To the extent that AOL needs to have a successful mobile strategy that leverages acquisitions such as Third Screen, it signals a start with the hope of building momentum," says William Ho, a senior analyst at tech research firm Current Analysis.

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