by May 1, 2010 0 comments

With Mobile software developers launching App stores for
their respective platforms and enjoying grand success for the same, Airtel has
launched their own App Store that works across phones irrespective of the
operating software.

Christened as App Central, the App store works through GPRS
connectivity. Hence anyone having an Airtel connection can get the Airtel GPRS
plan activated and use it to access the store. One simply needs to type out
‘App’ and send it to 54321 and the link to the App central is delivered to the
inbox. There are no data charges for browsing through the App central, which is
a very wise move by Airtel.

The App Central is a basic store with options to search
through the apps by name, or browse through them. The apps are sorted in
different categories such as social networking, cricket, entertainment and even
has categories for Free apps, New arrivals and Top Sellers. The main page also
has 4-featured apps on the top for quick access.  The App central is fairly
simple to use, even for a first time user. The applications have detailed
description of the functionality, the developer, size of download as well as the
cost of the application. Once an app is purchased, it can be used on the phone
without any further cost, unless it’s a subscription-based service. For a
subscription-based service, the price would be deducted as and when the
subscription has to be renewed.  In case the application gets deleted or does
not get installed correctly, the user is entitled to download the application
twice, without incurring any extra charges other than the data transfer.

Price: NA
Meant for: Airtel users
Key Specs: Works on all operating systems, requires GPRS/ EDGE
Pros: Easy to use, Free Browsing, Detailed information
Cons: Expensive, GPRS only connectivitypad
Contact: Airtel India
SMS Buy 130512 to 56677

The billing system for the applications is very neat. The
charges are automatically added to your current bill or charged onto your phone.
For subscription-based services, the customer is notification via messages that
come 3 days in advance before the app expiry date, asking the consumer to either
recharge or to unsubscribe.

There is a wide variety of applications that are available
on Airtel’s App Central. However, it doesn’t match up in sheer numbers to the
Android app store or the Apple App store. Also, the pricing of the apps is
substantially high considering an Indian consumer psyche, which would make the
users, stick to the free apps more or less. The data charges for downloading an
app from app central are standard, same as downloading through any other
website. Also, currently there is no option to download the apps via any other
way other than GPRS.

All in all, the app store is a great move from Airtel to
make users aware of the various applications available for entertainment and
productivity. However, Vodafone has also launched their own App store in
competition to Airtel which makes airtel loose out on the exlusivity factor of
the service.

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