The above video starts off with Yahoo vice president of Global Mobile Products Ojas Rege talking about the overall strategy and then he hands off to Sanjay Kidambi who demos some of Go 3.0's capabilities. My fellow blogger Stephen Wellman has already registered his thoughts about Go 3.0 commenting that he thought the new user interface was slow and arguing that Yahoo may not be able to compete with Google on the mobile front.
But one thing is for sure. Yahoo's strategy is different from that of Google's. To win in the Internet space, both companies know that two things are critical: First, the user experience must be great. Second, they must win over developers since developers are key to the long term success and vibrance of any platform. But, whereas Google is essentially looking to redefine the mobile operating system with Android (for all intents and purposes, a permutation of Java), Yahoo is remaining platform agnostic and is looking to make sure that its user experience runs well on all mobile platforms (it remains to be seen how portable Android will be to existing phone platforms).
According to Rege, the initial and most highly interactive implementations of Yahoo Go are designed to run on phones with the mobile edition of Java as well as Windows Mobile. The Go 3.0 experience is available in a straight browser as well, but it's not nearly as interactive and animated as the other versions. Perhaps more interesting however is that in order for developers to take advantage of the Go 3.0 platform (in other words, to build mobile applications for it), Rege says they won't need to know what the target device is. In other words, to developers, Go 3.0 has a slight middleware aspect to it. Developers can build their widgets once and those widgets should work on any of the platforms supported by Go 3.0 now or in the future.
In remaining platform agnostic, Rege says the idea is to make sure the Yahoo services are available on as many mobile devices as possible in the richest form possible. For Google, it remains to be seen whether Google Apps will be available in their richest form on the Android platform and then, on a selective basis to other platforms (eg: Apple's iPhone).
Where and how might this battle end? It remains to be seen. But, while we still wait for Android to actually show up in a commercially available handset, Yahoo is delivering its mobile platform now. That headstart could work to Yahoo's advantage.