Research In Motion, the maker of the smart phone Blackberry, has extended its application store to India, which includes third party applications by Indian media and entertainment firm such as Hungama, broadcaster CNBC-TV18 :
— Hungama MyPlay App: A music player and an online store (which we have previously reviewed here) to browse and download content such as latest ringtones, wallpapers, music tracks and videos clips.
— CNBC-TV18 App: The application displays live news from CNBC TV-18 and Moneycontrol.com, and allows users to search stock prices on NSE / BSE and global indices as well as use personal finance tools.
We also found applications for Orkut and Facebook for the Blackberry:
— MobO for Orkut by Mendez: Users of the social networking site can log in and update their status, write scraps and testimonials, etc.
— UberTwitter: A Twitter application with the ability to integrate photos, embed videos in tweets, tweet shrinking and URL shortening. Sadly, no Gravity.
— Facebook: This application is customised for Blackberry handsets and is also free.
In June, Google offered its mobile application for My Location and voice search to Blackberry users in India. This, and a customised version of its chat application GTalk, are now available on the India application store.
Mundu Radio App: Geodesic’s application that accesses free Internet radio stations (which you can get from an aggregator such as Shoutcast) and streams music on your handset was available on the store when it launched in India. It appears now that this app is no longer available on Blackberry’s app store. Was it something Kulkarni said? (scroll down)
A factor that affects the success of an app store is its range of applications. Other handset vendors such as Apple and Nokia were able to immediately tie up with Indian developers and media partners to offer India-exclusive applications on their respective application stores but RIM has only managed three. Will Indian users be dismayed by this small-scale, pocket-sized attempt? One wonders if such launches could spark off more independent mobile app sites on the lines of Getjar.com.
We attempted to search for the Indian pricing of applications online at the store – it is unavailable as of now. We have contacted the company to get details of paid applications and their pricing and will update this post soon. (Update: The company has not replied to our queries.)
Can we expect moderation in pricing compared to other app stores? Maybe not – the company has chosen to stay in its ivory tower while other handset manufacturers (Nokia with its E63 and HTC, Acer) are lowering price barriers.
Update (Feb 5, 2010): The app store has a definite tilt towards monetisation with only 14 free applications compared to 24 paid ones. What was surprising was that the pricing of the paid applications is still in USD – why call it an India App Store if you dont accept payment in Rupees?
Of the 24 paid applications, 11 are games. Most are by the London based IG Fun and Bavarian company Handy Games GmBH – no Indian developers interested? Apps include a recording of the Hanuman Chalisa or Suprabhatam with lyrics which is priced at $2.99 and Curry in a Hurry with Shilpa, both by IG Fun; comic book HellBoy priced at $4.99; Mobile Checkbook for $7.99; NFL; Indiana Jones and the Lost Puzzle etc. Free apps include Viigo India for news, weather updates, entertainment and sports scores, B2B social networking site Internet Evolution and Yippidu WorldNews.
Will Anybody Really Use The Store?
Recently, at the Geodesic earnings call, Kiran Kulkarni, MD, Geodesic, had revealed something that suggests (and this is our extrapolation and not Kulkarni’s) the app store might not find many takers. He said, “Fact is that 79% of Blackberry users use only voice in India and not its e-mail features.” So much for its “push e-mail” slogan! RIM might need to come up with new strategy for India and invest largely in advertisements that expound the real value of the handsets and that will encourage users to explore its functions.
– Nokia’s Ovi Store Opens For Business; Where’s The App? Poor Usability
– Indian Applications On Android Powered HTC Magic Launched In India
–N97 Apps By Indian Media Co’s: India Today, NDTV, Rediff, CNBC-TV18; Eterno & Galatta