Airtel launched India's first Mobile Apps Store called as "Airtel App Central" today. It's a welcome move for all the airtel customers who can now choose from more than 1250 applications offered across 25 categories! After the success of iPhone Appstore, it was only a matter of time for an Indian version and Airtel has made the first move! Replicating the Apple's model in India is not easy because of inherent problems like lack of robust payment infrastructure. But Airtel has cracked the payment problem in a very smart way. The cost of the app is deducted from the available talk-time (in case you are a pre-paid customer) or the cost is added in the next billing (in case of post-paid subscription) - Truly integrated billing solution!
The Appstore can be accessed via "Airtel Live" or by sending an SMS with "app" to 54321 or by visiting the WAP URL http://airtel.cellmania.com. There are few interesting applications such as Gilli Danda, Book Cricket etc., Most of the apps are adopted/Indianized. Cellmania - Leading provider of Mobile Ecosystems for Mobile operators, Infrastructure providers - will host the infrastructure for Airtel. The cost of apps starts from as low as Rs.5!
Developers interested in developing applications for Airtel Appcentral can submit their apps by visiting https://airteldeveloper.cellmania.com/. According to TechTicker, the revenue sharing for developers would be 70% of what Cellmania (airtel's appstore partner) receives. Cellmania itself will receive 40% of airtel's revenue, therefore developers would be receiving 28% of final app price!
In India, what one mobile operator does is immediately followed/offered by other operators very quickly due to a very competitive environment. Following the announcement of airtel appcentral, Reliance and Aircel will be launching their own app store pretty soon.
Mobile Platform is heating up in India. Good time for developers, customers alike!