Yahoo and Sprint have joined the Blackberry chasers with their own push e-mail technology.

Subscribers to Sprint can now access their Yahoo e-mail. Sprint will provide client software that lets users send and receive e-mail instantly, synchronise with their Yahoo Mail accounts continuously and store e-mail on the phone for reading while out of Sprint's coverage area.

It's some way from Blackberry's extremely popular technology which will let you pick up e-mail from anywhere and not just a specific company's e-mail, but it is an indication that the market is really chasing Research In Motion to offer people instant e-mail on their phones.

The launch comes just weeks after Nextel began offering two-way e-mail on its Java-enabled phones. Nextel's service can work with Outlook, Lotus Notes and most Internet e-mail accounts. And this week, Microsoft did its usual trick of announcing it will produce its version of the technology later this year.

Yahoo Mail for Mobile is available on the PalmOne Treo 600 and 650 as well as three phones that will use a J2ME client: Sprint's MM-A700 from Samsung and the MM-7400 and MM-5600 from Sanyo. On the Palm devices, subscribers can choose to get their new e-mail pushed to the device automatically. On the Java phones, they can choose to have a text message sent and then respond to that message to have the new mail sent. Both types of phones can synchronise e-mail accounts.

Once synchronisation takes place, messages will appear as read or deleted whether the user is viewing them on the phone or Web. The most recent 25 messages (75 with the larger-capacity Palm devices) are stored on the phone so they can be read offline.

Large e-mail messages are truncated to 2K per message on Java phones or the user's choice of 1K, 2K or 3K on the Palm devices. After opening a message, they can bring up more of it. Attachments can be viewed on the Palm devices using DataViz's Documents To Go PalmOS software, but there is no viewer yet for the Java phones.

The service is available now and costs $2.99 per month plus applicable text-messaging charges.