Looks like STAR India’s multi-service mobile app Plus! has competition: India Interactive Technologies Limited (IITL), a JV between media house Dainik Bhaskar Group and Sam Pitrodas Pitroda Group LLC, has launched a mobile application called MeraMobi.

I downloaded and installed both STARs Plus! and MeraMobi. Frankly, Plus! took a long time to initialize (failed a couple of times with Airtel Live, so I had to switch to my WiFi connection). MeraMobi has less content and features than Plus!, and hence the navigation is less complex. Even though Plus! has more content and services, I found it painfully slow to navigate – too many menus to get the content you want.

Note that MeraMobi will provide content in both Hindi and Gujarati, powered by the Bhaskar Group (which has publications in those languages). The initial menu is in English, so Gujarati-only users will find it pointless. Also, no point in giving users a language option if it hasn’t been enabled yet.

Services on MeraMobi:
— Railway ticket booking, via IRCTC. Note that C-SAM Inc had powered the IRCTC Railway Ticketing application
— Air Tickets – powered by Travel Mart India
— Bill Payment – powered by BillDesk, a Clearstone Venture Partenrs funded company
— News, Cricket, Entertainment & City Guide – powered by the Bhaskar Group
— Stock market updates: powered by Ticker Plant Infovending Ltd
— Yellow Pages: powered by Infomedia Yellow Pages
— Job Search: powered by Info Edge – Naukri
— Astrology: Powered by Bejan Daruwalas Ganesha Speaks

Now all of this can come to nothing if handset manufacturers get into the act and pre-load their own applications on handsets. Which is why it also makes sense for companies like STAR to tie-up with a handset manufacturer like Sony-Ericsson; Nokia’s the big catch, though.