Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

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Why MobiSparks Excites Us

About five years ago, when Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google) was asked to predict what is the future of technology, he was believed to have said, “mobile, mobile, mobile.” Considering the trends that we see today, there is a shift towards mobiles and tablets, largely driven by the developments in the apps space. Interestingly, there are newspaper reports that tablet sales are surpassing PC sales. A couple of years ago, D. Shivakumar, now head of sales of India, Middle East and African regions of Nokia, predicted that the apps industry will be as large as the software services industry, if not bigger. These predictions seemed slightly over the hill when they were done and largely fanciful, if you were to think back then. The move towards mobile has been dramatic in the last couple of years. Smart phones are adding up to the incessant growth in the mobile technology space. If Push Mail was an innovation that catapulted BlackBerry to global prominence a decade ago, it seems the combination of apps and an array of features enabled by mobile apps (and the creation of Web experience on the mobile) is fuelling the upward tick of iPhone and Android phones. Windows Phone is catching up and Intel is also engaged in making a breakthrough into the apps space. Suddenly, the apps space promises to deliver a host of services unparalleled and unseen hitherto. And all large players are madly rushing into the space looking for pots of gold.

Ram Shriram, called a Man with Midas Touch due to his high-profile investments, now heading Sherpalo Ventures, in his address to NASSCOM Product Conclave, also dwelt on huge opportunities that mobiles presents itself to product entrepreneurs in India. “Enterprise on the go” on the corporate/enterprise end and anything from SMS alerts to smart apps on the consumer side spans the entire gamut of user space and it’s invading us like never before. We are better served by these experts like Ram Shriram who capture the latest trends and watch the developments closely.

Rajan Anandan, MD of Google, is quite excited about the mobile in India. During his recent address to ISB Digital Summit, he saw the rising number of mobile users in India presenting a huge opportunity. Corroborating his view that smart phones will become affordable and would lead to an explosive growth in smartphone-driven technological improvements, a media report says the number of smartphones shipped last quarter has registered an impressive growth. By 2015, India will see 200 mobile-first Internet users out of a possible 300 million Internet users. And the staggering number of 900 million mobile phone users is another factor that leads to predictions of this space becoming big in the future, although the number 900 million is often contested (one user having multiple SIMs and some SIMs not active).

Vijay Shekar Sharma, founder of One97 Communications, feels that mobile is still not understood in India. He feels that a lot more needs to be done to profile users better. And Alok Kejriwal, founder of Games2Win faces a different problem. As Web users of gaming moved to tablets and mobiles, how will they locate the games that they were easily able to locate through the website? Discoverability of games (as also apps) is a serious problem facing app developers and app-based services entrepreneurs.

There is another interesting aspect of the mobile user interface. Deep Nishar, the product manager at LinkedIn, specifically advised his team not to export Web to Mobile for LinkedIn but to understand what the user wants in mobile LinkedIn. So after profiling users and understanding that late-night and early mornings users switch on to their mobiles and tablets rather than PCs, LinkedIn added news updates and appointments of the day to its LinkedIn on Mobile, presenting a completely different interface and user experience.

So, is there more to it? What are the startups focused on this space? How are the top 10 companies faring here and who are they? What are the emerging startups in India in the mobile space? Listen into the experts as they analyze the mobile space and more important, we present Rohit Singal of Sourcebits to tell you on how to build those awesome mobile apps in a workshop. Come, let’s discover how these entrepreneurs and experts put the world on our hands!

For getting into MobiSparks presented by YourStory.in, buy tickets here.

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