I wanted to take my applications to the larger india(beyond major cities). I went around and observed the following behaviors which are different from regular app store style and wanted to evaluate some possible solutions. Are these solutions feasible or not for business? But they seem to be the way to reach consumer with the mobile?
1. Though mobile penetration has reached Indians, both rural and otherwise, the concept of the mobile applications seems not to reach the Indian.
- Indians make use of java enable phones(which comes installed on Nokia, Ericsson and other brands) and lack an offical app store.
- There is a lot of china mobiles that do not support third party applications.More than 60% of mobiles in rural India seem to china mobiles. They do not support installing of java applications and even installed,they might not allow the app to run.
- A lot of the applications are mostly online and and a surprising amount of people who have mobiles don’t use GPRS
To solve a problem for the user with application, am I making him purchase a new mobile? Does the end user get sufficient ROI from my application to purchase a mobile? What do I perform to build his confidence?
2. There is limited availability of internet. If they are ready to access internet, they do not have good regular internet connection. Hence they find it a challenge to use search for apps on internet or not motivated to consume completely online apps. They also try internet cafes/browsing centers to connect, which mushroom closer to colleges and major bus stands. Will this be applications that are offline for most of the time(expect for transfer at specific times of day) might be the best applications for rural users to consume?
3. In terms of connection provider, BSNL seems to be in nook and corner and that works every where. BSNL seems to come with app store and currently there is no app store. Does it still make sense to publish in app store and expect app to become popular? I would not stop there for sure. Is there a way that we could advertise offline with BSNL along with BSNL bill send every month to customers?.I am not sure whether this can happen or how to make this happen.
4. when people in rural want to download songs, they see airtel super singer and download by sending SMS or they go to mobile shops or mobile repair center and get songs downloaded on the mobiles. But this is either one way transfer or privacy of content, which any business do not wants. being a startup,i have less money power to advertise my app on the TV. How can we advertise in addition to word of mouth?
5.Is there a way that we could build a business model around the internet cafes/browsing centers and channel the products through them? The internet cafes/browsing centers push products to the customers and get a revenue share. This can be thought like the STD booth entrepreneur revolution of 1990s. One observation is that all of them are registered with State police and there might be some way to reach the. For example, I see that there is Tamil Nadu Internet Center Owners Association which connects with all internet centers in Tamil Nadu. In the similar fashion,one can look at mobile chain stores that sell mobiles across India?
Tough problems to crack! Any suggestions and help is welcome and I would happy to collaborate work with others to break digital divide and get technology benefits to all people.