An application called Sexy Theme, which allows users to customize their mobile device (wallpaper, background, custom menus, popups, screensaver and/or ringtone), raked in the most money in terms of sales on Airtel’s App Central marketplace. Sexy sells, it seems, but social networking leads free downloads: three of top five free applications on Airtel’s list are social networking applications, led by Snaptu.

Airtel announced last week that their applications marketplace, which has over 1500 apps, reported as many as 2.5 million application downloads within 30 days of its launch, with social networking apps dominating in terms of downloads. Though the company did not disclose specific download, revenue or sales figures, they did share with MediaNama some trends in terms of sales and downloads:

Paid Applications

Apps on App Central are available for as low as Rs 1/day with options to pay on a weekly, monthly or one-time basis. Mirroring the trend in content consumption, entertainment leads the way in terms of the top categories in terms of sales. I’m a little surprised that Games follows next, though. The top 10 categories, in terms of sales: Entertainment, Games, Themes, Productivity, Utilities, Business, Books, Lifestyle, Reference and Photography. Note that Airtel classifies apps according to 25 categories.


Top Paid Apps (Sales)

1. Sexy Theme: as explained earlier, allows users to customize their mobile phone
2. NetQin Mobile Anti-Virus: is a mobile anti-virus that does file scanning, monitors files in real time, and removes viruses. It’s important to note that this application requires a data connection for updating virus definitions.
3. Best CallRecorder: For recording mobile phone conversations. Claims that it is unobtrusive…does that mean that the person at the other end does not know if a call is being recorded? Note that Nokia smartphones have a host voice recorder that can be used to record calls, but it beeps during recording in order to prevent unsolicited recording. I use it often for conducting interviews.

4. Tranquil Beach Theme: Appears to be similar to Sexy Theme, allowing users to customize their mobile handsets.
5. Flying Ringtone Maker: allows users to convert songs storied on their mobile phone into ringtones. A trial version is available here at download.com

Top Paid Apps (Downloads)

1. Mobile Magic Tricks: an Entertainment application that allows users to learn how to do magic tricks. It doesn’t consume data on usage.
2. Flirt Analyzer: another Entertainment application that estimates the chances of success of a flirt.
3. MobileCam Viewer (Basic): allows users remote monitoring of public webcams and security cameras via the mobile phone.
4. Maji Player: A media player for the mobile, which allows users to manage music and videos on their mobile, and create playlists.
5. iSpyCams: for viewing popular webcams from all around the globe, covering Beaches, Animals, Cities, Harbors, Hotels, Landscapes, Mountains, Rivers, Sights, Sports and more. These are organized by Popularity, Categories and Countries.

Free Applications

Only around 25% of the Apps on Airtel App Central are free to download

The top 5 Free applications, in terms of downloads:
1. Snaptu tops the list: a social networking application that incorporates multiple services like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, News etc.
2. Qeep: another social network for the mobile: allows instant messaging, photoblogging and live gaming.
3. Wauwee: Wauwee.com allows users to share mobile photos and chat, as well as connect to social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Hi5 etc
4. FTV Model Diary 2: I’m surprised that this application was free (after all, Sexy sells), but it’s not surprising that the an applications with FTV models – wallpapers, slideshows and, most importantly, date of birth, place of birth and achievements of various models, is in the top 5.
5. Airtel Mpod: the Airtel Music of Demand application, which allows users to search for, listen and download 100,000 songs, and also has a music player makes it to the top 10.

Download Trends

According to Airtel, downloads from App Central are being led by feature phones and not smart phones. What is perhaps most interesting, is that smaller cities dominated downloads, though one may argue that Pune isn’t exactly a small city. In order, the top 5 cities are Surat, Udaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Thiruvanathapuram. We expect this order to change, once Airtel allows access to their applications store via their Mobile Office (mobile Internet access) pipe.

I was surprised to find two peeping applications in the top five paid apps (downloads) – MobileCam Viewer and iSpyCams; not that I doubt the power of voyeurism, but I wonder if those downloading are aware that we really don’t have the data speeds to support streaming…yet. It’s unlikely that they’ll be be used much, but expect applications like these and qik (one of my all-time-favorite apps) to drive heavy data consumption in the future.

It’s also encouraging for Airtel that of the free applications that saw maximum downloads, those which consume data topped the list: apps that benefit Airtel, in terms of revenue, are those which are either subscription based, or consume vast quantities of data; preferably, both.

P.s.: We’d like to publish applications consumption trends monthly or quarterly, covering multiple mobile operators, as well as handset manufacturer app stores (as long as it’s India data). Operators and Handset Manufacturers – please do feel free to share such information with us at nikhil@medianama.com.

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