Google Play makes Nexus 7 available in India for Rs. 15,999

We knew Google was prepping something to serve up Nexus products in India. This was done with India being listed on the Nexus page. The Nexus 7 tablet was available in some India retail outlets but it was more or less a limited launch. Today, Google has listed Nexus 7 on Google Play store for India.

This means users can now order a Nexus 7 tablet from Google Play directly.

Google Play Nexus 7 India

The Nexus 7 listed in India is not exactly the latest version. It the WIFI only version with 16GB storage space. It will have Android 4.1 running on it but I guess it can be upgraded online once you buy it.

Should we buy Android tablets?

After buying an iPad Mini, I am not very keen on buying an Android tablet. I still think Android as an OS is miles ahead of Apple’s iOS from a user perspective. But the app ecosystem for tablets specifically is still a lot superior on app store rather than Google Play. But with more tablets being sold, I am sure Android app will catch up fast. Also Android based tablets tend to be a lot cheaper.

Link: Google Play – Nexus 7

Google’s Nexus 4 launch seems imminent in India

Google’s Nexus 4 mobile phone device was launched almost 4 months ago in the US but as yet there is no real news for a India launch. But that might change very soon and Nexus 4 availability (officially)seem imminent in India. The landing page for Nexus 4 on Google, shows India added in the list of countries it should be available.

Nexus4_Country_India

Why the launch is imminent?

  • Nexus 4’s launch in India was being held up probably to wait for the announcement of LG’s Optimus G. As LG also manufactures Nexus 4, it probably did not want Nexus 4 to overshadow the Optimus G.
  • Pricing issues are also a bit of a stumbling block. LG’s Optimus G goes for around Rs. 31,000. Nexus 4 goes for $299 for the 8 GB mobel. That is approximately Rs. 16,000. If Nexus 4 is released in India, expect it to be priced around the Optimus G price range.
  • With Samsung Galaxy S IV unveiling only days away, it might give LG a nice buzz around March 15 in India, to crash Samsung’s party, atleast in India.

India needs a Nexus Phone!

India is fast turning over from being a country that loved its Blackberry and Nokia to a country that has safely adopted the Android platform. Android phones are outselling other phones in the smart-phone market but it is still a country does not have a Nexus phone available officially. The stock Android experience is something, Google should make easily available than it is in India at the moment.

Google adds Books to Play Store’s catalogue in India

It’s been a long time since Google has moved from Android Market to Google Play, aiming to create a store for all kinds of content, including Apps, Music, Books and Magazines. But in many countries, Play store is restricted to Apps, nothing more than that.

Until today, India was one of those. Thankfully, Google has added new kind of content to its store – releasing Play Books in India.

play-books-india

If you open Google Play in your browser or the app on your Android, you should be seeing a Books section inline with Apps. You’ll be prompted to download Play Books app for Android, which is what you need if you want to read any books you’ve bought.

The collection seems to be pretty huge, especially for a first time release. There are a good number of books you can get for free, too – check out the ‘Top Free’ section for those.

You can preview the books before buying which is nice to have. Apart from Play Books app on Android, you can even read the books on your library from the site itself. If you’re on iOS, you can get the Play Books app, it’s also optimized for iPad.

Flipkart has been doing pretty great with their eBooks collection and Apple has recently brought music to iTunes store in India. It’ll be interesting to see which service people will go with for buying content.

Link: Google Play

Flipkart Launches Marketplace to Entice Vendors

Flipkart has launched Marketplace. It is mainly a place for vendors to sign-up and sell directly to customers. The shipping will be handled by Flipkart’s own logistics partner. That basically means with Marketplace, Flipkart will now allow third-part vendors to sell their merchandise online.

With this step it joins eBay India, SnapDeal which also have similar e-commerce marketplaces. It also becomes a lot similar to how Amazon works in the US, where it allows vendors to sign-up and augment their own offers.

Flipkart Marketplace for Vendors

How to signup to Flipkart Marketplace as a vendor?

  • At the moment there is no automated place to sign-up and fill in your details. It requires vendors to send in an email to vendor@flipkart.com to get an invite..
  • The account username seems to either be an email address, display name or a phone number. I guess these three could be used to register as an vendor.
  • There seems to little or no information about how this process works except that vendors will use Flipkarts own logistics setup.

Flipkart Marketplace might threaten smaller e-Commerce

Though Flipkart has bought some big e-commerce sites like LetsBuy and offered a MP3 store along with a digital bookstore to leverage itself against other e-commerce sites, it was still losing out to smaller websites offering unique and niche products. Getting vendors into the action will help it offer a wider variety of products to customers.

Usually Flipkart was known for its quality of service – especially the last mile delivery mechanism. I was once joking with a friend that looking at their reliability of their in-house delivery service, they should also offer courier service. I guess in a way that is what Flipkart is doing. It is leveraging its infrastructure and increasing the variety of products it offers by getting vendors into its fold.

Sites like e-Bay India which also have vendors selling stuff, often do it for a lot lesser price than say Flipkart. It will be interesting to see if Flipkart allows vendors to sell products at rates that are lower than what they themselves are offering.

Have you registered as a vendor on Flipkart or know someone who has? We would love to hear more inputs you might have in your comments.

Link: Flipkart Marketplace

Google Announces Mapathon 2013 Contest to Improve Maps in India

Google has lately taken a big interest in improving their maps for India. Like three months ago, they introduced traffic updates for Indian cities and before that they had introduced displaying bus routes.

But Google wants more hand-on data and they want volunteers to get more useful data for Google Maps. They have announced that initiative called Mapathon 2013.

Google_Mapathon_2013

What Google Maps wants?

You can register for Google’s Mapathon 2013 contest at this landing page. Ideally sign in with your Gmail account. The contest will run from Feb 12 to March 25. So you still have 3 days to go ahead and register before it starts.

What Google is trying to do here, is get a lot of Maps users to volunteer important information across India. Google is also offering prizes for the top 1000 contestants.

Prizes

  • Prizes on offer include 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 800 Android tablets.
  • 40 Samsung Galaxy S II phones.
  • 50 Flipkart gift coupons worth Rs. 5000.
  • The top 1000 contestants will get an free t-shirt too.

Chance to do good karma!

Thought prizes notwithstanding, I think it is a good idea to contribute to Google Maps from time to time. Especially with new information about important places like hospitals, correct names of roads and more.

Link: Google Mapathon 2013

My Experiences with WordCamps in India! [TDIS]

It is now over a week since I attended my second WordCamp. The first one I attended in Mumbai, India – where I was slightly disappointed with the lack of WordPress related discussions. But I was not really complaining and looked forward to another one in the city of Baroda. The WordCamp in Baroda was better than the Mumbai event as it had more WordPress related content being discussed and shared.

I thought, I would sit down and write my views on WordCamps that I have attended. The idea of this post is to take stock of how things might be at WordCamps being hosted in India and how could they get better.

WordPress Logo 

What I found lacking at WordCamps!

WordPress is not exactly very popular in India. It has a decent following but nowhere developed like it is say in western countries. I think there were some basic things that I found lacking at WordCamps I attended.

  • Local meetups arranged prior to WordCamps seem to be few if not completely absent. Having meetups will be a good idea as this will give a good idea to organizers on how much local enthusiasm is there for the WordCamps. It will also help drum up support for WordCamps.
  • People love to volunteer and get involved. But people who want to get involved need a platform to get involved. I think more work can be done to build better smaller local communities which can be more accessible.
  • The talk sessions sometimes are more centered around social media and SEO tips. I personally find this a waste of time when social media marketing tips and SEO tutorials are shared which have nothing to do with WordPress.
  • I did not come across any good sessions on basic introduction to WordPress. This I think is a must have session for any WordCamp.
  • I was also a little disappointed that WordCamps I attended hardly saw a mention of how people should contribute to WordPress. It is important that as open-source community we think of making and adding to WordPress more than just taking from it.

I won’t be too harsh on the two WordCamps that I attended as I saw organizers themselves sharing their experiences with other organizers very freely. This is crucial as sharing their experiences will improve WordCamps a lot more in the future.

What I would like to see in India’s WordPress community

I am using the word ‘community’ instead of ‘WordCamp’ on purpose.

  • I would love to see organizers write down a detailed list of difficulties they came across while arranging a WordCamp. This would be a great resource to future WordCamp organizers.
  • Another idea is for organizers to help first time speakers. First time speakers are often unsure about their sessions and maybe a list of things to do, guides on how to go about presenting a session and what they should talk about might be of great use to them.
  • Finally, I would love to see a session called ‘Basics of WordPress’ for people who simply have no idea of what WordPress is all about. This could be like a 10 minute session.
  • Finally, I would like a lot local casual meetups. It would also be great if people who take part in such meetups write and share what they discussed during these gatherings.

India’s love affair with WordPress is simply beginning!

I suspect India does not have a very strong WordPress community. There is a lot of interest in it surely but most students are not exactly aware of it. There are many WordPress developers who work freelance in India. But many of them are not exactly organized as a community. Hopefully with more WordCamps all that will change slowly by surely.

As WordPress is open-source, it’s biggest supporters will always be college going kids who do not exactly have a lot of resources but have the adventurous spirit to learn new things.

Considering India will have a lot of young people who might not find fancy jobs in IT, I am sort of betting on them finding their true calling with WordPress. :-)

Useful Links for WordCamp and WordPress Meetup Organizers

If you are interested in taking part in WordCamps or organizing them you might find some of these links useful.

Finally, as I was writing about WordCamps in India, let me inform you about the next one. WordCamp Pune 2013 will be held on the 23rd &24th February 2013.

Special thanks to Rahul Banker, who did a great job of organizing WordCamp – Baroda 2013.

Do drop in your comments and views about WordCamps and WordPress events in India.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our TDIS ( Thank Devil It’s Sunday) feature, where we publish casual and personal posts.

Google Plans to Create 500,000 websites for Small Businesses in India

India is a country where the entrepreneurial spirit has been alive and kicking. This is especially true in the small and medium sized businesses. Indian small business owners, especially the ones who are not into technology usually will not have a presence on the web. Google plans to change all this and have made as start in the famous Chandi Chowk market at Delhi. Over 2500 businesses have gone online for free, thanks to Google.

Google India Business Online

Why is Google so serious about small businesses in India?

  • According to Google, India has 137 million internet users. That number will only grow at a rapid rate over the 5 years.
  • India has over 47 million small and medium businesses. An overwhelming number of them do not have a web presence.
  • Google has a online campaign called “India get your Business Online” where they allow small business owners to create a website for free.
  • The campaign has got over 150,000 businesses online and Google plans to add upto 500,000 more sites.

These stats are impressive but it makes sense for Google to get local businesses in India online, because that is the only way they can show these businesses for local search. Additionally local businesses having a web presence will also enrich Google Maps and Google+ Local in India. With growing number of smartphones users in India, it is only a matter of time people will look to search of local businesses with their phones.

Afterall if there is one company that really knows how to handle and extract value from big data, it has to be Google.

Here is a video of Google’s attempt at getting businesses in Chandni Chowk, New Delhi online.

Do your think Google attempt will be good PR but ultimately not really give much of a boost to local businesses getting online.

(via Google India)

Apple launches iTunes Store in India

Apple has launched a new iTunes store available in India. The iTunes India store has a lot of India centric content and more importantly the pricing is affordable.

The new iTunes store, has been launched in 56 counties which includes India. While Flipkart also has introduced DRM-free MP3 music files, iTunes has gone a step further. Users can download movies in HD formats and the pricing again is a big incentive.

Indian centric content now available on iTunes at affordable prices

Movies can typically be rented or bought outright. For instance one of the latest Hindi movie was priced at INR 120 for renting and could be bought for INR. 420. The SD versions available are a lot cheaper.

Rented movies typically allow users 30 days to watch the movie, while once you start watching the movie, it has to be finished within 48 hours.

The music seemed to be typically prices around INR 20 but some international songs were available for over INR 100.

Apple atleast at the moment of writing this post, has not declared any tie-up with major Indian film studios and music companies but looking at the the listing of content available, I won’t be surprised with Apple having some sort of tie-ups in India.

Future of iTunes India Store

Even though the sale of iPhones is not as high as other countries particularly because of their high price, iPod are actually sold in pretty strong numbers. Also considering India’s movie and music industry is huge, the iTunes India specific store could actually end up being a pretty big deal.

Flipkart, whose Flyte store which is now selling e-books and music might have some worrying to do but honestly their app is cross-platform.

Flipkart Unveils Flyte e-book store for Android Users

Today, Flipkart has rolled a new service for Android users. It has started selling e-books from its Flyte store. Flipkart comes across as one of those companies that does not want to be acquired and rather build a large online retail business business. In other words, it wants to be the ebay or Amazon.com of India. Early this year in March, Flipkart introduced selling music in the form of DRM free MP3 files.

For a company that started selling books online, it was only a matter of time it started selling e-books.

Flipkart’s e-book store: How it works

The e-books being sold on Flipkart are available only on Android at the moment. It can be downloaded upto 6 times of different devices.

I checked the prices of some of the books and they seem to be a bit less than their printed versions. There seem to be over 64,000 books available on the store. That is actually a very small number but it should soon see a lot more books available.

Over 4000 e-books on Flipkart’s Flyte Store are available for free.

There are over 4000 free e-books at the moment available for download. Many of these free e-books are all time classics.

Payment options for the books include online banking, debit and credit cards along with Flipkart Wallet. Users will be able to preview upto 10% of the book before actually purchasing it.

At the moment, the app is only available on Android, but I am sure Flipkart will introduce this on other platforms like Apple’s iOS and Windows Store soon.

As tablets keep getting more popular in India, the e-book business will actually get more traction.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Flipkart e-Books | Android App

India to Oppose International Framework for Net Censorship

According to Hindustan Times, today India would be looking to oppose the any form of internet governance rules set up under the UN.

Internet censorship already exists in many countries, in which many social networks, YouTube and search engines fine themselves blocked in countries.

But ITU’s plans are to take such censorship further in laying down rules for content published on the internet across the world. In effect it would take over all authority from ICANN and give itself censorship powers. ICANN itself does not do any content regulation and more or less confines itself to technical standardization.

The big supporters of the creating new internet governance rules at the UN are not surprisingly Russia and China along with few more countries. Some of these rules will also include issues of tariffs applied by governments on certain sites along with handing over registration of country specific domains like to the governments rather than ICANN.

The UN sponsored summit called World Conference in International Telecommunications at Dubai next month, where talks on setting up internet governance will be held between countries.

India’s flirtation with Net Censorship!

The government in India has not necessarily brought about heavy handed net censorship like that of China. But many internet users are worried with rising number of content removal requests from government agencies. Indian government in the past had actually recommended manual screening of content on social media sites. NGOs and activists have also held protests against rising cases of net censorship in India.

But it a relief to see India not on the side of countries like Russia and China on issues of regulating content on the internet.

Who else is opposing Net Censorship?

Not surprising one of the biggest opposition to ITU’s plans is from the search giant Google. Google owns YouTube which is a favorite target of many countries which try to crack down on internet freedom.

Would you support content regulation by the UN? Do drop in your comments and views.