What do you do when you run out of producing mobiles which have four SIM’s to outright outrageous idea of mobiles doubling up as mosquito repellants? You dig deep into what goes on the mobile. The apps and the content happens to be the next gold rush. As per a recent estimate, mobile apps is worth $2bn business in India. I am not sure how true would that be but I can say that it has potential. Apps and content will rule the next telecom revolution. Voice is a commodity and operators are bleeding heavily on voice. Unless they get a rudder in the form of apps, they aren’t going to survive in the telecom world.
Reliance has already made its move with an arrangement with Nokia. Many operators will soon follow. App purchases will be and should be tied up to mobile bills very soon. Android is another dimension which will drive the app market. With Nokia’s partnership Microsoft has the potential to drive some sales. Apple for the most part will be absent on the Indian app radar.
A recent survey done by Nokia has some interesting trends in the apps. Forget the fact that only 501 people are surveyed.
- 16% of those surveyed in west download finance apps (the highest of any region),
- 23% south Indians mostly use gaming apps (again, higher than any other region) and
- 29% of people from the North-East download educational apps.
- Nearly 30% of south Indians surveyed use the apps on their smartphone during commutes, while 32% use them at home.
- Over 40% of those surveyed in the North download music apps-more than in any other Indian region.
- Around 25% of people in the North-East use almost all the apps they download on their smartphone, while their neighbours in the east, are the highest users of social networking apps (39%).
If you combine this with Gartner’s list of most important apps then you are looking at a gold mine waiting to be tapped. The apps which we would like to see are the apps from financial institutions like Banks and third party folks who can integrate all the operations. ICICI Bank is the only bank I have seen release an Android app. Since Android is turning out to be a smartphone OS of choice, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the rest to release and Android app.
There are just way too many categories to tap in this virgin market. We are just getting started.