India’s Indus Creates a Localized Smartphone OS

Rakesh Deshmukh, Sudhir Bangarambandi and Akash Dongre, alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and co-founders of Mumbai-based Indus have customized Android to build a  regional mobile operating system called Indus OS for smartphones sold across the diverse landscape of India.

Indus OS
The operating system was built on the following facts, premises, and research results:
  • 90% of India’s population speaks Hindi and regional languages
  • In India, handsets accessible in a local language will be used more often
  • Over 79% of those surveyed were not satisfied with their smartphone experience and 52% used their smartphone for just basic applications like calls and messages
  • 72% preferred regional language content on their smartphones
  • 37.5% were using a smartphone without having an email address
Launched in May 2015, the  Indus Operating System:
  • Has a user base of over 6 million subscribers already
  • Is available in 12 Indian languages
  • Is preloaded in over 50 smartphone models

Additional Features:

  • Offers App Bazaar  which provides over 50,000 applications to users in English and 12 regional languages; and claims 15 million app downloads so far
  • Users can transliterate/translate from English to any regional language
  • OS integrated offline text-to-speech functionality in regional languages
  • A word database of over 300,000 in each of the 12 languages it supports

CEO Deshmukh told the Economic Times that Google and Android,  are spread across glboal geographies and it is less pragmatic for them to have a niche offering. “The diversity of India — with 22 official languages — calls for a focused and a localized operational strategy.”

January 9, 2017   No Comments

Google India Encourages Small Businesses to Go Online

A joint study by Google and KPMG titled Impact of internet and digitization on Small and Medium Businesses in India pointed out that 32% of digital businesses cater to customers outside their city, and employ five times as many people as do businesses that are offline; and profits of digitally engaged businesses grow twice as fast compared to offline small companies. The research also revealed that the rise of digital SMBs can help increase India’s GDP by 10 percentage points.

To address the offline 68% SMBs, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, announced the launch of Digital Unlocked, a training program for business owners in India that will empower them with essential digital skills to use the internet to grow their business. The program is offered as a combination of online, offline and mobile modes. The offline training will be conducted in partnership with industry body FICCI, and over the next three years 5,000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities. This training course is certified by Google, the Indian School of Business and FICCI, reports Mint.

Google India Logo

Additionally, Google launched Primer, a free mobile app designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. Available for download through the Google Play and iOS app store, Primer can work offline too, and is currently available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly.

 

January 7, 2017   No Comments

Google Delivers the Internet on Bicycles in India

Alphabet Inc unit Google has partnered with India’s Tata Trusts in launching  “Internet Saathi” (Internet partner)  to empower women and their communities in rural India by enabling them to use the Internet and benefit from it in their daily lives. The joint initiative is aimed at bridging the technology gender divide, explains Tata Trusts.

Launch of Internet Saathi

Launch of Internet Saathi

Equipped with bicycles with large boxes on the back containing internet-enabled devices running Google’s Android mobile operating system, the guides ride their bicycles from one village to another showing women how to search for information, using Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service, and even just using a smartphone to make a call, says the Wall Street Journal.

A year into the launch, the program’s 9,000 female tutors have imparted a better understanding to more than 1 million women of how being connected could improve their lives.

October 4, 2016   No Comments

Social Media Adversiting Leads India Digital Marketing

An analysis of digital marketing tools used for brand marketing in India revealed that Social Media Marketing was the most popular.  88% of marketers in India, preferred this method, as compared to 71% that opted for Search Engine Optimization. 57% respondents chose content marketing via blogs, while e-mailers, landing pages, and search engine marketing were tied at 56% each. 46% opted for display advertising while mobile app and influencer marketing stood at 34% and 33% respectively.

Marketing

The most popular social platforms were Facebook and Google, followed by Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. eMarketer predicts India will have more than 206 million social network users in 2016, with the growth rate expected to increase by 20% or more through 2017.

September 29, 2016   No Comments

In India, a Financial Technology Revolution in the Offing

The Economic Times shares a report released by the Boston Consulting Group and Google, according to which by 2020 digital payments in India will touch $500 billion.

In the next five years, the payments landscape will change in India:

  • The Unified Payments Interface which allows customers to link all their bank accounts in a single mobile application will be in use for simple peer-to-peer payments
  • Biometrics, cloud computing and Internet of Things will drive payments
  • Non-cash payments will overtake cash payments by 2023

Some factors that will help the growth of digital payments in India:

  • One factor authentication when paying through wallets
  • 3G and 4G penetration in India, and the National Optic Fiber Initiative to provide every village with broadband in the country
  • The current 1 billion mobile subscriptions and the 240 million smartphone users will increase

The report also warned that hindrancessuch as unsteady internet connectivity in rural and semi-urban areas, lack of digital literacy among the rural poor and the older generation, and a lack of incentives for non-cash transactions have the potential to hold up the system.

a man using a mobile phone

 

September 3, 2016   No Comments