Tuesday, February 15, 2011

App Bazaar - Mobinise

We received a dainty little e-mail a about a week ago from a hitherto unheard-of (by us) mobile application development company called Webonise Labs. Apparently, Webonise Labs is working on creating the first (we’re guessing there’s no other, as of now) Android App Store which is completely India-centric. Being The Indian Geek, we just couldn’t resist the opportunity to find out more and let you all know what the full deal is. So we e-mailed them back, which lead one of us to a telephonic conversation with Saurav Mishara. He was enthusiastic, and all pumped up about this upcoming App Store that they’re currently calling App Bazaar. We let him outline their plans a bit, and then asked him a few pointed questions of our own. The results are waiting right after the break. Click on through – you know you want to.

Note : Webonise Labs is a Pune-based mobile and web development company, whose product “arm” or “wing” is Mobinise; Mobinise is releasing the App Bazaar in the coming months. The image you see at the start of this article is what we got via e-mail when we registered for the App Bazaar at the Mobinise website.

How does Mobinise plan to make it’s App Bazaar known far and wide? In talking to Mr. Mishara, we understood that they have two key ideas to make this work. Firstly, they are in talks (nothing conclusive yet) to include this App Bazaar as a pre-installed application in some upcoming Android smartphones from Indian manufacturers. The other avenue that Mobinise seems to be pursuing is to provide the App Bazaar as a service, or an API that could be integrated into App Stores that many manufacturers (such as Samsung, Motorola and HTC) already provide on their Android smartphones. This way, when you tap to download an App on a Samsung smartphone with Samsung’s built-in App store, you’d actually end up downloading the content from the App Bazaar. Of course, all this would be seamless, and you wouldn’t know the difference. But now, you can have a smorgasbord of India-centric apps to download and enjoy on your smartphone – regardless of whether you have the actual App Bazaar on your phone or not. For those among you who have brilliant ideas for apps, and have everything you need except the development skills, Webonise Labs has got you covered; they would be more than happy to turn your India-specific App ideas into a reality. Truth be told, Mr. Mishara was extremely excited by this point – so we presume that you can contact him or Webonise labs to get started on your app ideas right away. There were a few other points that came up in our discussion; we’ve broadly classified those into the categories below.

For end users

The primary questions on most Indian minds when it comes to paying for stuff is – how much does it cost, and can I use Netbanking. Sadly, we can’t answer either question with hard facts, because the payment system is currently being worked out for the App Bazaar. However, there was some name-dropping of highly-reputed merchants such as CCAvenue and the desire to provide a seamless user experience via an internal credit system; credits for the App Bazaar could then be purchased using Credit Cards or Netbanking or scratch cards. There is a plan to also include reward credits, based on the usage of the App Bazaar and the downloads from the App Bazaar. Details on these factors should be clearer once Mobinise has all the deals in place and decides to launch the App Bazaar in it’s first iteration. One thing is clear, though - Mobinise is completely avoiding the Operator billing route. Those of us who have experienced issues with on-the-fly billing by Operators for unwanted content that has been pushed to our phones due to inadvertent clicks on mobile Ads are breathing sighs of relief.

An interesting point to note, for end users and developers, is that you would have more visibility of featured apps. Currently, with the Android Market and the iOS App Store numbering hundreds of thousands of apps, you get to see only few of them as featured apps. Many of which are not relevant to India (such as the NewEgg Mobile app available and featured on the Android Market now). Since the App Bazaar has only India-specific apps, every featured app would be relevant to us Indians – and that’s always a good thing.

For developers

Apple’s iOS App Store requires a yearly registration fee of $99 to distribute free apps, and $299 for paid apps. The Windows Phone 7 marketplace requires an annual fee of $99 to distribute unlimited paid apps, and 5 free apps. Google charges a one-time fee of $25 for the Android Market. So how much does App Bazaar charge to submit apps? Zero rupees. That’s right – in a bid to win developers, and gain content for the first India-centric Android App store, Mobinise would not charge developers any registration fee – for both paid and free apps. Let’s look at the cut that Mobinise would take for paid apps – unlike the industry standard (made prominent by Apple) 70% revenue to the developer, with 30% revenue going to the App Store owner, Mobinise would take only a measly 20% of your paid App’s fee; so if you’ve got an App worth Rs. 50, you’re going to get Rs. 40 from every person who purchases it, instead of the Rs. 35 you would get from these other famous and big App store owners.

For content providers

Content deals are apparently being worked out with some of the major publishing houses in India. The Time of India group and Amar Chitra Katha were mentioned; we’re not sure if those are closed deals, or if the discussions are on-going. Content prices could start as low as Rs. 2.00/- for a daily, such as a newspaper - with monthly subscription for the same being around Rs. 100/- or so. Trying to keep prices in line with what you would pay for the actual printed newspaper.

 

All in all, this effort from Mobinise (and Webonise Labs) seems to be a good one. Whether the whole venture takes off with flying colours is something that remains to be seen. Once the App Bazaar is released, be sure that we’ll be taking a close, hard look at it – and bring you the full details.

Websites:

Mobinise

Webonise Labs

1 comments:

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Best android experience ever... enjoy :)

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