When Verizon bought Yahoo, we assumed that would be the strangest thing to happen with the aging brand. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of a very strange usage for Yahoo. Earlier this year, the company created Yahoo Mobile - an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) running on their own network. The idea is to compete with AT&T's Cricket and T-Mobile's Metro, offering unlimited data for $40 per month. Adding to the collection of odd decisions comes the newly announced Yahoo Phone, a Yahoo Mobile exclusive.
This new device is an Android 10 powered phone with a very purple body, which they call grape jelly. The phone is simply a rebranded ZTE Blade A3 with a lot of pre-installed apps, which we assume cannot be uninstalled. These apps include Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo Weather, plus the obvious Yahoo Mobile companion app.
The Yahoo Phone is a very low powered device, with only 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and a 720p screen. However, the company is trying to make up for the low specs with a low price of only $50. Of course, the phone is designed only for the Yahoo Mobile prepaid service, so they aren't focusing on the high-end or high price market.
In 2020, all of this leaning on the Yahoo brand seems confusing. Yahoo has never been known for understanding the mobile ecosystem, making the branding odd. Yahoo was successful in the early days of the web, long before search engines changed the way we used the web. Providing an index for the small number of web pages that were available made the site popular, and the custom homepage angle made it a success. But, those days are long gone, and people generally do not think of Yahoo as a mobile-friendly brand, let alone their primary mobile brand.