Cheap smartphones whet Indian appetite for mobile apps
A rise in the number of low-cost smartphones has enabled young Indians to access mobile apps.
New Delhi: Be it playing Angry Bird or watching movies on the go, a rise in the number of low-cost smartphones has enabled young Indians to access mobile applications like never before.
According to search engine giant Google, around 40 million Indians access the Internet through their mobile phones and there are 30 million apps downloads in one week. A combined survey by global market research firm IPSOS and Google found the 18-29 age-group using smartphones the most.
"Availability of smart and feature-rich phones at low cost, low telecom tariffs and flexibility of accessing the services on the go have made mobile apps all the more popular in a price sensitive country like India," Amit Sachdeva, partner, business advisory firm Ernst & Young (E&Y), told IANS.
Low-cost smartphones in the Indian market are available at a price as low as Rs.5,000.
"Launch of 3G services has become an added advantage. The sector will witness a boom once 4G and LTE (long term evolution) services are launched as well," he added.
According to Sachdeva, the most popular apps in India are the entertainment apps such as games, music and Bollywood followed by social networking and utility services that include paying off electricity bills and job search.
The e-commerce segment is fast gaining popularity with services. Deals and discounts are being accepted across the country. And mobile banking, which has a long way to go owing to security concerns, would soon draw customers in large numbers, he said.
Data collated by IT research firm CyberMedia showed the smartphone sales in India surged 87 percent at 11.2 million units in 2011 over the previous year as almost 150 models were launched by more than 30 vendors.
Unlike earlier days when pre-loaded apps like social media and music applications were mostly used, people are now buying games, said Virat Khutal, chief operating officer, mobile apps development firm Twist Mobile.
Instead of spending Rs.150 or more in buying tickets for a movie which would end in three hours, youngsters these days think why not buy an app which would be available with you all the time even while you are on the move, said Khutal.
According to Ditto TV, a Zee Group company which earlier this week launched its services in India, there has been a paradigm shift in the way Indians consume information.
"The need to be mobile has become an indispensable one and the role of internet-enabled devices paramount," said Vishal Malhotra, business head, New Media, Zee Business Enterprises.
"We are seeing a substantial response to mobile devices that allow users to have access anywhere, anytime. This has spurred the growth of applications which has developed into a full-fledged market," he told IANS.
The firm is bullish about the Indian apps market and is planning to tap an audience ready for entertainment on the go.
"We are looking at a subscriber base of one million users by the end of our first year," Malhotra said.
Ditto TV provides live channel-agnostic TV content and would soon incorporate features such as catch-up TV by which users will be able to share information related to shows, content that they like.