nlt1Life Tools Gets Ready To Roll: Nokia’s rural drive is underway with its Life Tools service completing the pilot stage in Maharashtra. It is set to launch commercially across the country in June. In November, the company had announced that Reuters Market Light will supply the content on agriculture – weather, prices and availability of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and prevailing market prices for the produce. (More on Reuters Market Light here and here.

Life Tools’ education service, powered by mobile VAS firm EnableM, will help mobile users learn English, improve their general knowledge, display results of national examinations and offer career advice. Entertainment offers ringtones, trivia, astrological predictions (by another mobile VAS firm OnMobile), cricket scores and  what the product brochure calls “the latest news in your region”. If news will be localised, then up to which level – how will Nokia filter news to only bring that which is relevant to a village? NLT originally supported only Marathi, Hindi and English but now also supports Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. Also, content in local languages is fine, but what about content in local dialects?


Loan For Handsets: Nokia has tied up with Hyderabad-based SKS Microfinance, which has 653 branches to drive sales in rural India. SKS will offer loans to handset buyers. Nokia is also launching marketing and servicing vehicles such as the ‘showrooms on wheels’ and ‘Rural care on the go’ to cover the hinterlands. More at Business Line.

Buy N-Gage Games Now In India: Nokia has added more games to its N-gage games ngagegifportfolio. Mobile users can now download an N-Gage application onto their handsets or log onto the website to interact with other gamers, participate in tournaments and try games. The games in India are priced between Rs 49 to Rs 299. More at CIOL.

Indian Developers To Create Apps For Ovi Store: Developer community Forum Nokia has launched a competition inviting Indian developers to create applications and services for its yet to be launched Ovi Store. The Calling All Innovators 2009 competition will select the top 100 entries for Ovi Store. Applications will be created for the N97, the first handset which will feature the Ovi Store.