“India is not the most Internet-friendly environment yet,” said Google India MD Shailesh Rao, revealing this has been the conventional thought for years now. In his keynote speech at Mobile India 2010, Rao said mobile Internet is becoming a reality now in India and that he expects time spent on browsing to double in 2010. Active mobile Internet users spend up to 40 minutes per day on browsing, but it is not clear if he was referring to a global or India-specific statistic.
No Smartphone Launches?
On being asked why Google smartphones such as Nexus One and G1 were not launched in India, Rao blamed mobile networks for not being “smartphone friendly”. (Ed: we don’t agree)
Rao believes that the “real work on making applications, services and alignment of the ecosystem” would happen in 2010.When conditions are right, Google will be aggressive on the mobile Internet front, Rao disclosed, offering a peek into Google’s mobile philosophy for India this year:
# The entry of environment-aware computing devices. Mobile computing will undergo a sea of change and hold transformative power with not just GPS but photo tagging and directional information, enabling services like m-coupons that are currently live in Japan.
# More powerful devices and browsers that would make Mobile Internet browsing as PC-like an experience as it can. He noted that Android and iPhone contributed to only 13% of smartphone sales but 50% of mobile Internet traffic.
# Simpler data plans will drive traffic growth. Rao gave the example of mobile operator Aircel, which offered in May 2009 a flat rate, inexpensive data plan to its 18 million subscribers. The plan resulted in the number of GPRS users on its network soaring from 30,000 in May 2009 to 1.7 million in October 2009 and data revenues growing by 7 times between January and October last year.
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