Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said this week that Yahoo “wants to accelerate its development of mobile products geared toward delivery of personalized content.” On Thursday, Yahoo released improved versions of Yahoo Mail for both iOS and Android, and Yahoo Weather for iOS. From the looks of the apps, it’s clear Yahoo is making progress toward Mayer’s goal.
First, Yahoo Mail. The revised iOS app is optimized for iPad screens, and the Android version is now tablet enhanced. The apps look great; they’re clean and uncluttered, without the distracting ads you see in the Web-based Yahoo Mail. I particularly like the full-screen “reading mode,” which lets you flip through messages. (The feature isn’t as sleek as Birdseye Mail, a Gmail client, though.)
The new Yahoo Mail apps mostly feel like they’re playing catch up to Gmail and other email clients, with common features like the ability to star messages and move them into folders.
Yahoo Weather for iOS is particularly good looking, though, with images plucked from Flickr. (Yahoo owns Flickr.) For example, when you check the weather for New York, Yahoo Weather shows a Flickr picture of the George Washington Bridge or another New York landmark. If the current conditions in New York are cloudy, the photo has dark clouds as a backdrop. The Yahoo Weather app matches photos with locations and forecasts more precisely than any other weather app I’ve used.
To get more weather detail, you simply tap the temperature. Yahoo Weather then shows a weather map, sunrise and sunset times (including an arc that shows the sun’s current position), and a wind and pressure reading with windmills that churn, a nice touch.
Yahoo’s updated apps are all free, and they are definitely worth checking out—if only to see how Yahoo’s mobile strategy is panning out.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.