I really didn’t feel the need for GPRS until I had to travel to Bombay last month, and realised that I would be without email access for most of the time.
I’m on Airtel and they have two options: Rs.499/month (billing is on a per-day basis – Rs.16 per day on which you access), for which they take the same amount as a deposit, and the other is 10p for each kb accessed. I chose the former.
Since then I have installed the Gmail application, Mundu Radio, the yet to be released Plus application from STAR India, GoTalkMobile and Opera Mini. Over the next few days, I’ll review each application one by one. First up is the first I installed-
Gmail for the mobile:
The Java based Gmail application has been around for a few months now, though Google has only recently done a press release on the application. Unlike has been claimed, the app is not India specific and anyone with GPRS enabled and a phone that supports Java can download the same by pointing their web browser to http://gmail.com/app . Most Nokia phones on a Symbian OS will support it.
– Excellent interface – the text is readable and accessing content is as easy as in gmail
– Functionality is the same as in Gmail – you can star mails, add labels, archive, delete, mark as unread. The same as Gmail.
– The dictionary is also enabled, so typing a message is easy.
– Also, once you get used to the keypad shortcuts, using the app is even easier. For example: pressing 7 twice allows you to delete a post. Pressing 3 twice allows you to mark post as unread.
– Long messages get truncated.
– It’s (understandably) not possible to view or download attachments (to transfer to PC via Bluetooth).
– The mail takes time to load, and if GPRS connectivity is poor, it just hangs.
It’s difficult to compose a message since it takes time for contacts to load, and there’s no default option of simply typing out new contacts.
– Even once you type in a new email address to mail to – it’s first added to the contact list, and then you have to select it.
– There’s also no ‘reply to all’ for messages.
– No means of accessing labels.
In spite some issues mentioned above, Gmail for the mobile is still a killer app for me.
Next: Mundu Radio
Additionally…just some thoughts on GPRS:
India has an estimated 2-3 million GPRS users, which is fairly low – that’s 10 percent of the approximated (as of today) 200 million subs. While voice remains the core business for most telcos, beyond a certain point, the voice business is expected to stagnate and value added services are expected to grow. With that, the demand for applications that require a data transaction are also expected to increase. Now what drives GPRS? Content and services. However, there are usability issues with the mobile.
People don’t know how to do GPRS settings and it is expected that future sim cards will have softwares for detecting the phone type, and automatically configuring GPRS settings. The other issue is that not everyone knows how to access the Internet on the mobile via the mobile – having to open a browser and type the webpage address is too much to ask of them. Hence, pre-configured clients are the way to go, and I’m reviewing some of these pre-configured clients.