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April 10, 2007 at 1:22 PM

Mobile search is one tap away

Alltel Wireless is betting that all mobile search needed to take off was a designated key on the phone.

The regional U.S. wireless carrier said today it is partnering with JumpTap, a Cambridge, Mass.-based search company, to pre-install a search key on handsets.

The search key will launch an Alltel-branded Brew client that presents Alltel subscribers with a search box to find content, services and information. Alltel said the visibility of the dedicated key will not only increase the uptake of mobile search, but also will increase content purchases by helping subscribers find what they want quickly and easily.

“We have successfully used dedicated keys in the past to provide content we wanted to make readily available, including games and ringtones. It’s been proven that the easier it is for subscribers to find applications, the more likely it is that they will be adopted,” said Wade McGill, Alltel’s senior vice president of product management.

JumpTap’s search engine has been available on Alltel since September 2006. It returns information from both Alltel’s store, called a deck, and from the Internet. Paid search links and display advertising are included in the results.

Dan Olschwang, JumpTap’s CEO, participated in a mobile search panel at CTIA in Orlando two weeks ago. He was joined by some local participants, including InfoSpace, Medio Systems and SNAPin.

The panel highlighted the difference between mobile search as provided by anonline giant, such as Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google, vs. choosing one of them for a non-branded approach.

Click here for a summary of the discussion.

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