But content in the form of websites for different needs is lacking
CHENNAI: With a huge rural population and a relatively low PC and Internet density, India was only partly affected by the so-called “Internet revolution.” But when the next — the “mobile Internet revolution” — comes round, India might be in the forefront due to the very high penetration of mobile telephony.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently pegged the total number of wireless subscribers in the country (as of end March 2009) at 391.76 million. With a significant proportion of these subscribers using “data-enabled” handsets according to the TRAI data for the previous quarter (101.1 million handsets), the country may be poised to take a big step forward on the mobile Internet front.
However, content is a major problem, says S. Prashant, Director, Akmin Technologies. “There are enough handsets and many good plans by telecom providers. But the content in the form of websites for different needs is sorely lacking.”
Mr. Prashant, whose Chennai-based company was recently recognised as an Official Honoree (top 15 per cent of over 10,000 applications submitted) by the prestigious WeBBY Awards Committee, has a solution: let people come up with their own content.
Last year he released mobiSiteGalore, a mobile website-building tool, based on an earlier tool, SiteGalore, created by his own firm. “In SiteGalore, the user could build a mobile website from the PC. We went one step further with mobiSiteGalore by letting users build mobile websites from their mobile phones,” he says.
Available for free at http://www.mobisitegalore.com, the tool lets users build their websites in a simple step-by-step process.
It also provides them hosting space under the sub-domain .param.mobi (thehindu.param.mobi would be a sample website address). “For advanced users who can host their own domains, we provide only the site-building tool.”
Nearly 50,000 users have signed up and built their mobile websites using the tool, says Mr. Prashant. Many bigger players have also licensed the software from Akmin under the Software as a Service model.
“We are moving towards enabling people from even the remotest parts of the country to access the Internet. Soon we will be providing the tool free of cost in local languages. This will create an explosion in the amount of content available on the mobile web,” he explains.
With the W3C (WorldWideWeb Consortium) mobile web initiative and dotMobi, a group of leading players including Microsoft, Google and Nokia, attempting to resolve inter-operability and best practices issues, the mobile Internet might soon become ubiquitous, Mr. Prashant says. And, he adds, with a number of people getting on the bandwagon by creating sites like cricket.mobi and fbimostwanted.mobi, the content problem could also be solved soon.