Yahoo is partnering with Celltick, a mobile commerce company, to make a Yahoo-branded “Start” screen for Android users.
Start is a next-generation Android interface that helps users get the most out of their phones by giving them quick access to the most relevant features and information. Users will also have access to Yahoo products like Weather, Flickr, Yahoo News, and other Yahoo media properties on their Start screens.
The Start recommendation engine can learn user behaviour and adapt the screen to what users use most on their device and it will be the default search provider for Start in Asia Pacific and India, then break out into other countries.
It will come pre-installed on some phones, but can be accessed on any Android device from the Google Play Store within the next several months.
It sounds similar to Facebook Home, which launched last April as a drop-in replacement for the existing home screen on an Android device. Facebook Home acted as a replacement home screen that allowed users to easily view and post content on Facebook along with launching other apps. Essentially, it was a homescreen with Facebook as the priority.
It didn’t do well, and was considered one of the biggest tech duds of 2013.
Chen and Daniel didn’t speak to Facebook Home, but seem confident that Yahoo will provide a better and more useful tool to its users.
Daniel says “it was about developing an intelligent, engaging interface for users on the start screen,by using themes, plug-ins, personalisation features and ongoing updates based on intelligent analysis of user behaviour, feedback and ongoing trends in the mobile arena.”
“It’s not just about content,” Daniel added, “it’s about context.”
Last month, we saw what looked to be a leaked video from Yahoo showing off some new user-friendly features. Based on the images below, it looks like the Yahoo Start screen would support some of the features we saw in the video. Yahoo has yet to comment and Celltick won’t say whether or not it made the app in the leaked video.
Here’s an idea of what the Start screen will look like: