Bharti Airtel has launched India’s first ever mobile app store. No it’s not taking on Apple’s AppStore in any way. Airtel’s app store is called Airtel App Central and it enables Airtel customers to download applications on their mobile phones without using a credit card. Users are simply charged by deducting their pre-paid balance or billing post-paid users. Airtel’s App Central has applications starting from as low as Rs. 5. There are quite a few free applications available for downloads as well.
Airtel’s App Central is merely a Nokia Ovi-like store but with Java based applications mainly. I couldn’t spot any Symbian/Android/iPhone applications on Airtel’s appstore. One good thing about Apple’s appstore is that they encourage third-party application developers to add their applications on India’s first mobile app store using Airtel Open Developer Community program. There’s nothing much about it on their website as of now. To download mobile applications from Airtel’s appstore one needs to log on to the Airtel live site from a mobile phone and browse to Airtel App Central.
I wonder if this is officially India’s first every mobile App Store since Nokia’s Ovi Store has been active for quite some time here. However the ease of downloading content without having to take out a credit card from the wallet is going to be convenient for Indian mobile phone users. I’m hoping others like Vodafone, BSNL and Tata Indicom also come up with such stores.