In what sounds like an interesting prospect, Webonise Lab has announced its plans to launch an India centric Android app store called AppBazar. The Pune based company said that AppBazar will be released around the first week of April. Understandably, the focus is on India specific apps and some of the apps will probably be in vernacular/ regional languages.
According to the press release, the focus of the app store will be on Tier 1,2,3 cities. The company also added that it has hosted a developer contest to give developers the necessary push towards developing India specific applications. Depending on whether they are Android fans or not, people will probably will have different reactions to this news.
With news that Android has outshipped Symbian as the world’s top mobile OS, the announcement couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. And with the large number of Android phones(both premium and low cost) flooding the Indian market, the prospects seem bright. If you look at any online app market place, they are largely US centric, so I think there is a definite need for many India specific apps.
There are several reasons to be optimistic, but at the same time, there also quite a few to be a little skeptical. Android’s relative openness (not open source!) compared to iOS allows third party/independent app stores. Recently even Amazon announced its Android App Store. There are several other independent Android ones as well. Not to mention app stores from the likes of Airtel, Aircel etc. So there is plenty of competition in the space. Secondly, Android users are not known for their readiness to pay for apps. So I’m a little concerned about a steady/long term revenue stream for AppBazar. Then, because of the absence of a strict monitoring process, third party app stores are afflicted with malware. Fragmentation of Android will also be a challenge for developers. Very small percentage of the Android phones in India run Gingerbread(if any) and given the general unwillingness of handset manufacturers to upgrade devices to the latest Android OS, developers will face a serious challenge here. And say what you want about Nokia, it is still India’s most trusted brand.
Ultimately, the success of AppBazar will depend on the amount quality apps/developers it attracts.
What do you think of an India centric Android App Store? Let us know!