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Buy Electronics & Kindle via Amazon in India

amazon india logo

A couple of days after launching the marketplace in India, Amazon.in has partnered will sellers to offer electronics for sale in India. The new categories introduced are mobiles, cameras & portable media players. There are a couple of sellers that are selling the latest gadgets in these categories and are also participating in the fulfilled by amazon program.

In addition, amazon is also selling their kindle e-book reader in India via Croma Retail. All the models of kindle (including Kindle Fire and paperwhite) which were previously not available in India are now being officially sold by Croma retail on amazon.in.

Amazon seems to be taking a very patient approach to enter a market already filled with a plethora of local players. It looks like they are taking their time to analyze the market, figure out the best strategy and then enter. It will be really interesting to see what changes they bring in this ecosystem in India.

Amazon Launches amazon.in in India

amazon india logo

Amazon has officially launched its marketplace in India and is accepting orders from Indian customers. The domain name is amazon.in and the site resembles the amazon sites all around the world.
 
The products sold on the site are just fulfilled by amazon and not sold by them. Amazon has tied up with various sellers and provides them with warehouse & fulfillment options in order for the customers to have consistent amazon quality experience.
 
Currently, only books, movies & TV shows are on sale with more categories like mobile phones & cameras.
 
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world and its entry in the Indian ecommerce space is a milestone. The site is definitely going to give a tough competition to major online retailers in India owing to the extensive experience they carry with them. It will be interesting to see how they use this experience and their deep pockets to tailor the amazon experience for the Indian consumers.

Flipkart Shutting Down its Flyte Digital Music Store

flyte mp3 logo

After a little over a year, flipkart is shutting down its flyte digital music store in India. We first reported about flipkart’s launch of flyte digital music store in February 2012 and since then, flyte grew up to a catalogue of 15 million songs making it the largest store for digital music in India. According to flipkart, the reason for closing down flyte digital music service is the prevalent music piracy in India and lack of easy micro payments.

Here is what we think flipkart might have done to prevent this:

1. Marketing

There was absolutely no marketing done for flyte. Everything people knew about the service was due to word of mouth or banners on flipkart.com. Things like banners on trailers of films on music channels (iTunes has been doing that since years now) make a lot of difference and help in spreading awareness about the service. There were ads for flipkart.com, however, we never saw ads for flyte either on TV or in print media.

2. Promotions

Apart from their anniversary offer, flyte never had any promotions. I am talking about things like:

  • free flyte coupons/song vouchers in your flipkart.com shipments
  • gifting options for songs & albums
  • QR codes in print media and multiplexes in a movie’s poster that link to the digital album of the movie on flyte

3. Better integration on iOS

I know that its difficult to maintain margins when you have songs priced at INR 6 due to Apple’s 30% cut in the in app purchase policy, however, flyte could have at least let iOS users purchase music using a nice mobile site like amazon. The sad part was that they have a mobile site for physical products, but no mobile site for digital products.

4. Aggregated payments

iTunes has been doing this for some  time now. Instead of charging a user’s card when he has purchased just one or two songs, wait for a few days for the user to purchase some more songs and then charge the card for a bigger amount. That way, it is easy to overcome the issue of micro payments. It also helps reduce the number of calls made to the payment gateway. And if the user doesn’t purchase more songs in the next few days, just charge for that song. It will still lower the number of transactions on the card.

In any case, I am sure that the decision was taken considering many other things which we might not know about. We wish the flyte team good luck and hope that they will come up with a better and more profitable digital music store in the future.

Indian Railways to Offer Free WiFi on Trains Starting Today

rajdhani express

As announced in the rail budget this year, Indian Railways is starting its free WiFi service in trains starting today. The first train to offer this service to its passengers is the New Delhi – Howrah Rajdhani Express.

The train will have a 4 Mbps connection which will be shared amongst all the passengers on the train (which is very low in our opinion). Passengers will have to provide their mobile number or PNR number in order to get the password over SMS to access the free WiFi service.

Users will be able to browse, check emails, chat and even watch YouTube videos (if the speed allows) on the free wifi connection. However, the service will block access to all porn sites and illegal sites.

Indian Railways plans to offer the free WiFi service to 50 other trains by the end of this year which includes all the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express in addition to other trains. We hope that they also plan to increase the speed as 4 Mbps will be too low, especially on Shatabdi trains which will have passengers sitting during the day (as opposed to sleeping on overnight trains).

[via BGR India]

Indian Airports to Accept Mobile Boarding Passes for Domestic Flights Soon

mobile boarding pass

TOI is reporting that the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India has asked the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security to enable airline companies to issue barcoded boarding passes on mobile phones. The ministry wants to implement this system in the coming weeks, so that the domestic airline companies in India will soon be able to send mobile boarding passes to travelers on their email.

This is a welcome move and will surely benefit a lot of travelers and save a lot or trees. This will also result in shorter lines at the check in counters at the airports. Most smartphone vendors offer apps for such purposes which were otherwise useless before in India. Apple has Passbook app on the iPhone and Samsung has the wallet app on its Android based smartphones. After this move, these apps should be of some real use to India consumers.

Imangi Studios Launch Temple Run 2, the Sequel to their Wildly Popular Game

temple run 2 logo

Imangi Studios surprised everyone by releasing Temple Run 2 – the sequel to their wildly popular game, Temple Run. The original game was a huge hit because of its immersive and thrilling, yet simple gameplay. The sequel is no different. It improves upon the prequel with astoundingly better graphics (which are, apparently, built using a much better graphics engine this time), new power ups, new stunts, yet using the same simplistic controls.

temple run 2 for iOS

You can download the iOS version from here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/temple-run-2/id572395608?mt=8. The Android version will be released in some time.

Gaana.com’s Mobile Apps Now Available

gaana.com logo

Gaana.com has launched its mobile apps for all major platforms which let you stream unlimited music over 3G or WiFi. The apps have been developed by Times Internet and are available at the App Store, Google Play Store, and also for Blackberry, Nokia and Java based phones.

The iOS app offers a neat and simple player design which is pretty intuitive and smooth in operation. The player includes all the features from the gaana.com website such as playlists, search, music discovery, favorites etc.

gaana.com iOS app gaana ios app

The apps lets you enjoy gaana.com’s huge catalog on the go. The only thing we found missing in the iOS was AirPlay support in the app. Although you can beam the music to AirPlay devices at the system level by double pressing the home button and swiping left twice.

The apps put gaana.com neck to neck with their competitors like saavn and Dhingana. Hopefully the next round will be on the quality of the streaming audio.

Cleartrip Now Offers Passbook Support

cleartrip logo

Cleartrip is famous for its neat and simple, yet amazingly powerful UI. Oh, and seamless ticket bookings as well :). When it comes to user experience, cleartrip clearly is one of the best case studies. They are always on their toes to keep innovating and setting new standards.

Keeping with the tradition, cleartrip is now supporting Apple’s passbook format for all your bookings. Users can now send their bookings to their iPhones & iPod touches (with iOS 6 or above) and keep all the tickets, and passes handy. Apple’s passbook is a nifty app that serves as a digital folder for all such things. Think of it as the digital equivalent of your document kit. Learn more about it here.

cleartrip passbook

Unfortunately, airports in India currently do not support paperless boarding passes. So you will need to collect one from a counter. However, the pass should work as a paperless ticket, which, apparently, the airports are beginning to accept now. Pretty good move by Cleartrip.

[via Cleartrip blog]

Google Maps Now Available on the iPhone

google maps for iOS

Google has finally released its maps app for iOS giving relief to a lot of users around the world. After many embarrassing turn of events for Apple, it was inevitable for Google to work on and release an awesome app to users facing too much inconvenience. And they have delivered well.

The new app is beautifully designed and has all the elements one would need from a maps app. The app looks slick and minimalistic, however, it is feature packed with turn by turn voice navigation, transit directions, walking directions, live traffic view and reviews for restaurants in addition to some personalization features. I tried turn by turn voice navigation in India and found it to be pretty accurate. However, the distance units are not in metric which is a bit inconvenient. To make the  distance units show up in metric system, go to Settings -> General -> International and change the Region format to India. Also, there seems to be lags here and there when the app speaks out directions. Even with all these quirks, the app is a welcome for anyone who was used to using the native Google maps apps before iOS 6. The app has already replaced the native Apple maps app on my home screen.

Download the new app from the app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-maps/id585027354?mt=8

Mahindra Launches Android App to Connect with your XUV 500

mahindra logo

The XUV 500 is the flagship car from Mahindra. People are mad about it and rightfully so. It looks great, performs well and is priced competitively. The only issue is that you have to wait months before you can get one.

The XUV 500 is also probably one of the technologically superior cars. And Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has launched an Android app for the owners of the XUV 500’s W8 model to monitor their car’s stats and control the audio system. Pretty cool eh?

mahindra xuv 500 android app

The app connects to the vehicle over bluetooth and lets the owner monitor vital stats like tyre pressure, fuel statistics in addition to providing alerts for door open, low fuel, distance to empty etc. Furthermore, the app can be used to control the infotainment system and the vehicle’s climate control system.

[via NextBigWhat]

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