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Like most of you probably did this morning, I checked the weather on a smartphone. Unlike most of you, however, I got my weather from a Yahoo (s yhoo) app. Yes, you read that right: Yahoo. The company surprised with two new mobile applications on Thursday: a new Weather app for iPhone and iPod touch devices, as well as a Yahoo email client for iPad and Android(s goog) tablets.
Here’s the funny thing: these are really slick mobile apps. From Yahoo. (I know, right?)
If you had shown me the new Weather app, for example, I would have said that either Apple(s aapl) or a small design-focused start-up developed it. The background pictures are from around the world via Flickr’s Project Weather Group and beautiful to look at. They’re also representative of the current weather in their respective cities. Every icon provides data at a glance and it’s easy to navigate quickly for more detailed information.
I haven’t taken the new Yahoo Mail client for a spin yet but it looks like a nice visual update, meant to take advantage of the larger screens of tablets. Here’s how Yahoo describes it, along with a short video demo:
“With amazing displays, vibrant colors and lifelike images, tablets have changed the way we experience books, photos, movies and more. Yet email, something we do every day, has remained pretty much the same. We’ve been boxed in.
Today, we’re excited to introduce the Yahoo! Mail Apps for iPad and Android tablets – a full-screen experience that gets rid of the noise. There are no folders, no buttons, no tabs – just you and your mail – and you can easily flip through it like a magazine. We’ve designed Yahoo! Mail to take full advantage of the tablet making reading your email faster, easier and just a little bit more fun.”
I’m generally happy with the native email clients on my iPad mini and Android tablets, so even though I’ll kick the tires of Yahoo’s new mail app, it would have to really wow me. Regardless, both of these new applications look surprisingly fresh from a company that has been generally found itself lost in the growing forest of mobility.