Hindu Calendar : A Vedic Calender for your cellphone.

 
Traditional wisdom in Telecom  industry is that Indian customer only pay for only four type of content and services Astrology ,Bollywood,Cricket & Devotion.Collectively referred as ABCD of Indian mobile VAS.Most of the time when we speak of ABCD in general and Astrology specifically  we think of it as an subscription services like Daily Horoscope alert on SMS. But relationship between Astrology and Mobile goes much deeper than that . A little known fact about Mobile apps in India is that one of the first application which got significant traction in India was an astrology app for panchang and horoscope matching.  it was way before the smart phone era .Long back in Late 80s and early 90s an application by Name of "Leo Palm" from Future Point was a de-facto tool for any Astrologer worth its name . It was initially developed for Palm devices and later on available for Windows Mobile devices too. Many practitioner of Panchang and Vedic astrology (and i know some of them )still swear by it. However in the current wave of mobile apps there I didn't come across many decent application on Vedic Astrology and panchang. So I was understandably excited when I discovered an Panchang App for 2010 in Ovi Store.


Developed by Adarsh Apps, Hindu Calender 2010 is your handy reckoner for Indian vedic calender. Just for € 1.00 you can download it from Ovi store (link),a free trial version can also be downloaded from their website (link). At 2.08 MB of file size it was hard for me to download it on GPRS so I installed the trial version on my Nokia N97 by side loading it from my PC. Installation was a smooth process of couple of steps.where you are asked to specify location and language preference.
 
 
This app has got a rich UI with high information density.All the menu options can either be in  between Hindi and English. Home screen is a regular calender view for vedic calendar. It maps Gregorian dates to corresponding Hindu dates. you can expand a particular date by expanding it by taping on block. Expanded view provides many information for each day like Sunrise and sunset,Moonrise,Paksha,Tithi,Nakshtra,Yoga,Sun Sign,Moon Sign etc . It also provides list of Hindu festivals including major events like Ekadashi, Shraddha, Eclipses, etc.  All timings in extended view are local to current location specified at the time of installation .The Daylight Saving Time (DST) is adjusted for all locations supported by App.You can also see festival view of month and week.In this view all the Hindu festival occurring in that particular week / month are listed.Panchang provided by Adarsh apps works  for more than 125 cities which include cities from other countries.This makes it an excellent value proposition for Indian diaspora around the world.I wasn't able to figure out a way to set an alert/alarm on panchang.This can be a good value add for the users.
 
Their website offers an extensive FAQ section covering various aspect of using the app.which shows a deep domain knowledge and focus on the part of developer .Like Mr.Expense,this too seems to be an app developed by someone who has been in the domain for sometime . On a slightly patriotic note I would like to say that sometime back an industry colleague made an remark that most of the apps in world are made by Indians but very few of them are made (exclusively ) FOR Indians. Hindu Calendar 2010 is one such app. Do give it a try.

Comics Creator : Now Everyone Can Create Their Own Mobile Comics .


Most of the times When we think of Multimedia capability of mobile phones we think of things like Audio and video playback.But there is more to cellphone than just that. One underutilized set of capabilities is the capability to render image and text . this combination of text and Image to narrate a story is very captivating . As children we all were hooked to comic books like TinTin, Archies,Nagraj,Dhruv etc.which used to tell great stories  through picture and text .With everything moving to digital  there is no reason why we shouldn't see the same for comics and this shift is happening as we speak .

Being a mobile app professional I was aware of the fact that Mobile phone is being used as a distribution channel for Comics. But there is more to it than just distribution . some innovative mobile applications are trying to leverage mobile to bring a fundamental change  not only in the way comics are distributed and consumed but also in how they are created. Comics Creator from Chennai based NextWave Mutlimedia is one such application.

Comics Creator is a tool to help you create your own comic strips .It is a mobile version of a web app available at comicshead . some features of app has been modified to better leverage the mobile environment .you can create comics by using your own imagery and artwork or with the help of pre bundled characters. currently this app is supported for Nokia Series 60 5th edition phones .you can download it free of cost from Ovi store (link). with 6.28 MB of file size it was a bit hard for me to download it on my Nokia X6 using GPRS. so after two failed attempt , I switched to Wi-Fi and downloaded it in a snap. Installation was a no brainier 2 step process.

Comics Creator offers you an assorted set of tool to help you create your comic strip. there are tools, like an gallery of characters which can be modified to fit the need of story. user can also upload her own artwork . You can also customize the gesture ,color,size,background, Add and edit text ,share your comic strip with your friends via MMS or email etc . You can add text bubble to denote the conversation.You can have multiple frame in same comics strip and these frame can inherit background or characters from previous frame to new frame .There by reducing the  effort needed to duplicate the scene from frame to frame. I created couple of comics strip using it and process was intuitive and fun. you can see one of them below . This is inspired from a recent series of blog post on Ovi blog.



What excite me about this app is the fact that it enable  masses to create comic strip . with a tool like this anyone with a story in his head can create a  story board.something which was earlier limited to few who were artistically blessed. fact that it allows you to do this on a mobile phone only increases its reach and scope . they also have a marketplace online where you can publish your comics and put it up for subscription.  it is effectively  democratizing the complete value chain end to end . if executed well this can be a very disruptive idea. As I write this I have created six comic strips using this tool and told two of my folks about it.So it goes without saying that I am pretty jumpy about it (there I said it ) . Check this out and I am sure that you will feel the same way about it. If you create a comic I request you to share it with us . lets hear your story :) .

FlyScreen : Zero Click Content Access on Your Mobilephone

 
Lately I am noticing that thanks to some cool content apps  my cellphone has replaced PC as my primary medium of content consumption online. But this shift of medium also comes with a subtle but important shift in my content consumption habit . Earlier I used to devote a fix time ( 2 hours post dinner ) to catch up on my reading list in feed reader. Its not that I didn't have time during the day or something but in most cases window of free time  available was very short, not enough to fire up a browser , load the feed ,read a post and all. Doing same on mobile phone is slightly more difficult . So I always wanted to have a cellphone based feed reader of sort where first I can read snippets of my RSS feeds and if I like the preview,go to the full text . My fave metaphors to explain this usage behavior is of content snacking . On mobile phone, user love to snack on content in his/her free time and very rarely he/she choose to have a full fledged four course meal( ie read the complete post and accompanying discussion) . But most of the mobile RSS application were merely a port /optimization of desktop web experience on cellphone  without taking any advantage of cellphones capabilities.
 
Flyscreen is different.Its a RSS reader application with an interesting twist .It enables you to have zero click access to your news feeds by idle/sleep screen utilization. what it means in plain English is that it keep syncing the content in background and displays the snippet of your RSS feed content when your cellphone is in idle mode . so you can have a look at latest update from your face feed just by glancing at the screen. This is a very elegant use of most prominent and most underutilized onscreen real estate of your mobile phone.
 
 
Developed by celllogic , Flyscreen is a free app supported for majority of Nokia devices .It can be downloaded from Ovi store (link)  or side loaded using a PC from celllogic website (link)  you can get it directly on your cell by pointing your mobile browser to: http://myf.ly/m . I downloaded it on my Nokia E63 and N95 . Installation file was of 225 KB in size and it took me couple of minute to download them over a GPRS channel. Installation work flow was glitch free and intuitive .you need to go through a registration process after installing the app . which is followed by configuration of the feeds of your choice .Here you can choose the pre-selected sources or add custom RSS feeds that you set on your own.There are 8 categories of content to choose from . You can set up a maximum of  10 different Feeds.You can integrate your Twitter account, and Google Reader with the app. Flyscreen allow you to define the frequency of sync(i.e. : how often application should fetch new content . once the configuration is done , flyscreen stay in background and display feeds on sleep screen of your device . its like having a full screen news ticker on your cellphone. If you like a specific news snippet you can expand it , see the complete story in browser and share it with your friends vial email ,facebook ,Twitter etc.


What I like about Flyscreen is its excellent user interface and sleek intuitive  work flow. Much of the technical complexity of fetching and optimizing the content for mobile screen is hidden from user and best part is that this usability hasn't been achieved at the cost of speed . I found Flyscreen to be faster than most of the other app in its category. This is by far the best use of sleep screen I came across. so if you think that you are hard pressed for time to catch up on your reading list and (like me ) you want to squeeze some hassle free reading  in to your lunch hours than Flyscreen is just the right app for you. do give it a try I am sure it will help you to be on top of all the news.

Mobiesta : Your Mobile Fun Guide


I have reviewed couple of  Mobile local search application at Lab Report . Each has its own feature mix and each of them serving a certain set of use case(s).But none of those applications did a thorough job of catering to use case of event search. To a certain extent that is understandable , event listing  is a very  data acquisition heavy business .You need to keep refreshing /updating your database  on a weekly or sometime daily basis. There is very little syndicated content available for this domain . Lately there has been a lot of activity in the web( as in desktop web ) side of this domain sites like Buzzzintown, Bookmyshow has done a good job of creating mainstream awareness. But these sites were primarily web focus and I think there is a big enough market need for a pure play Mobile based event directory .

 
Mobiesta from Delhi based Mobiesta Technologies is a step in that direction .Its a little java app which you can download Mobiesta by submitting your cell number at their website or sending an SMS with keyword "Mobiesta" to 56677 . you will receive an download link as an SMS . clicking it will start downloading app on your cell phone . You can also download it straight to your device by  pointing your handset browser to http://mobiesta.com/down.php . It runs through GPRS and is compatible with all the Java enabled phones.It took me a couple of minute to download the installation file to my Nokia E63 and N 95 . Installation was a straight 3 step process and I was ready to use the app.


Mobiesta provides you with all the latest information regarding sales & shopping offers, happy hours in restaurants/pubs, exhibitions & fairs, musical concerts, stage shows, kitty parties, kids events,college fests, movie timings etc. Content is divided across 9 categories and you can browse it in according to locality ( Noida ,Gurgaon,Delhi) , Preference ( Exhibition,Pub ,Music concert ) and Bargain Hunting ( Coupon ,Discount sale ) .user can also view the event listing chronologically where by you can see the event on a specific date on calender interface .  Each entry has an contact number listing . you can make a call straight from the application itself. Mobiesta currently has its operations in Delhi and NCR but very soon launching its operations in various cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.I looked for happy hour deals in Noida and discovered one good offer . will try it out coming weekend.

Mobiesta has a jazzy but functional user interface which will appeal to its targeted audience of Young working professional . Apart from few minor glitches my experience of using the app for last two days was by and large smooth. Much of the success of the app will depend on getting right set of partnership in terms of content and distribution. another subtle differentiators can be the virality factor . As of now there is no way I can share the event info with my friend . I would love to have a sms integration where i can send the event detail to my phone book contacts . similarly a comment /review from other Mobiesta users will be great too. All in all Mobiesta looks like a decent app for early stage .  I am sure we shall see some innovative functionality in days to come . Do give it a shot and let us know how mobiesta helped you discover something in your neighborhood .

Mr.Expense :Your Anytime Anywhere Expense Tracker


In my previous life I used to sell software , that job involved a lot of traveling to clients offices all over the country .Thanks to that job I ended up visiting a lot of cities in India.While I liked the traveling and meeting new people part  of it . Keeping track of expense was a pain . I hated keeping track of expenses,stuffing  receipts into  pocket, purse,planner diaries and other places,scribbling un documented expense in spiral pocketbook and then sitting through the drill of reporting all that to folks in accounts dept back home and convincing them to reimburse them before I go broke ( I never liked them in fact as far as I know ,Nobody likes them). Being a Mobile enthusiast that I am ,I often thought of an app where I can maintain a list of expense occurred and export it to excel( our ERP demanded submission in excel).

Mr.Expense is nearest to my idea of a simple and functional expense tracker for your mobile phone. Developed by sonipat( Yes! you read it right, sonipat)  based Sinew Software Systems , Mr.Expense is a nifty app of just 110KB. Its supported for Nokia Series 60 3rd & 5th edition devices.Its a paid app You can download a paid version from OVI store (link) for 2 euro. A  7 day free trial version is available  at SINEW website . You can download it here. I installed trial version on my Nokia E63 . After a quick 2 step installation process and I was ready to use the app . 


Mr.Expense offers wide set of functionality arranged in a surprisingly  minimalistic user interface. It offers classification of common types of expenses like breakfast ,Biz dinner, Car Rental ,Flight ,Hotel Rent,Entertainment etc. you can also add your own expense type into the list.  for every expense entry you have choice to  enter your mode of payment like cash, check, Visa, Master card, American Express and such.you can also record your expenses in different currencies. Mr.Expense offered you a good set of functionalities in creating reports on top of your expense data. you can segregate your business expenses from your personal expenses . export this information as Comma separated values (CSV) so that you can open them in excel.

What I like most about this app is its simplicity . This gives a feel that designer of the app has been out in field and used "Other" method of expense tracking and like me  and He/She too ,was frustrated by them . Some subtle features like multiple accounts , classification of expense as personal and business , having a separate entry for business lunch , report,support for CSV export shows a clear and precise domain understanding by app developer. As someone rightly said "Most good products in technology business are created by the guys who are trying to solve their own problem and addressing their own pain point" . Mr.Expense seems to be an example of that . Do give it a shot  and share your finding with us.

Gsync : Sync Your SMS Messages With Your GMail


I don't like Information silo. I believe that as a user I should be able to pick any information available with me and should be able to transmit it over any medium I want . So my cellphone data should be shareable over Internet and my Internet data should be shared to cellphone network . on an application level  what it means is that if you have an information as text message  you should be able to email it your friend  and if you have some interesting email you should be able to forward it to your phone book contacts . Although its technically possible but process of doing so is very complicated . Ergo information silo prevails . For me personally biggest of all silos was the silo between my SMS Inbox and email Inbox . I want all my inbox to be unified . Moving information from SMS to Email Inbox is a pain .

Gsync from Psiloc systems addresses that need precisely and do it in a smooth elegant manner. Its a nifty app of 300KB which can be bought from Psiloc website . As of now its supported only for Series 60 3rd edition devices . Though its a paid app but Psiloc provides a 7 days free trial. Trial version can be downloaded from this page. I downloaded it on my PC and side loaded the app on my Nokia E63. Installation was a smooth 3 step process and I was ready to go. After installation user needs to provide its Gmail credentials so that application can authenticate itself . After authentication user need to configure the sync setting . Here user can decide what to sync( Inbox /Draft /Sent) , when to sync (frequency , Roaming ,Network preference ) etc . Once these settings are done you just need to go to the GSync home page and choose synchronize option . It will start pushing your SMS messages to Gmail . 
 
After Syncing ,your SMS/MMS messages start to appear as e-mails in your Gmail Inboxes . they are labeled as SMS/MMS. Messages and are arranged in a conversational thread format, very much like what you see for regular email messages in Gmail. Once these messages are inside Gmail you can pretty much perform any regular Gmail operation on them . Things like editing ,saving to draft or forwarding  them to your Email contacts etc . Gmail allows you to sync only 200 messages per twenty four hours so If you go over the limit of 200, you will have to wait 24 hours to be able to sync new messages. this might pose a little delay in complete sync first time around . it happened to me I had 600 ODD Messages in my SMS in box and I plan to sync them over next couple of  days.

I like the idea  behind GSync its addressing a very real need and simplicity of its implementation is very impressive too. User interface of Gsync is very menu driven with very little need of explicit user input. only constraint was that they only support Gmail but I hope that going forward they will be extending the functionality of product by adding support for more email service providers. Do try it out and let me know what you think of it .

Street Smart: Your Local Search Companion from Ask Laila

I am fascinated by the  Business of Directory Listing . I think they serve a fundamental need of modern urban life . but Its usually considered to be a boring line of work. Because much of the work in it consist of  consist of good old data collection ,distribution and syndication and ensuring that data remains up to date . but That's just one (BIG) part of it . If you look at it historically  this is one of the most resilient business , which have not only transformed itself but also capitalized on every technological shift in last couple of decade.

Back in old days this need used to be served by publications like The Whole Earth Catalogue , Sears's mail order catalog and  Your annually published local Yellow pages. with the spread of telephone we saw the emergence of telephonic directory assistance help line like Ask Me, Just dial . some players like Tell Me introduced a different spin by adding  speech recognition to the product mix . With the invent of Internet we saw migration of incumbent players on to internee.Next frontier for this business will unsubtly be Mobile phone.  I am amazed by the level of activity and innovation happening in this domain.One  testimony of diversity of innovation can be found on Lab Report itself. I have reviewed four mobile search product and none of them have same product mix. Today we are going to add one more application in this list , StreetSmart from Asklaila.
StreetSmart is a local search application developed by Four Interactive,the company behind online local search portal Asklaila.com . This application is part of their mobile strategy and its complemented by a WAP portal and SMS Search. Streetsmart is supported for Windows Mobile,Symbian and JAVA/j2ME platform. you can download it from their web page . Its available on Ovi store too (link).It took me couple of minute to download and install it on my Nokia E63 using Ovi. After installation Streetsmart take a little time to capture your location. Your location is shown on welcome page using a map interface.You can jump to search box by pressing the right soft key. I searched for "Pasta". Result page was an overlay on top of map interface .  as shown in screen shot below .It has got separate tabs for listing,address and details. user can navigate between these tabs using the left and right arrow key. By default the focus is on the listing page . user can traverse the listings using up and down arrow key and on each listing trigger an action like Call ,Send as SMS etc using the menu options. user can also see these listing as a map overlay by pressing the right soft key .
Four Interactive uses the map data provided by Microsoft and by default all its results are  optimized for geographic vicinity . user can change that by un-checking the box on the search page . Location info is critical for providing most relevant and proximity based  result against your search query. Unlike many local search player in the market ,AskLaila is not relying solely on third party syndicated data .they are investing heavily in building their own database. I am not sure if all entries in their database  are Geo-tagged or they are using some heuristic algorithm to calculate the  location of the business listed in their database.In any case I found the location to be accurate and result were  mapped with sufficient accuracy with  respect to my location.
In addition to this you can switch off the GPS usage by application from setting menu . You can also access all your previous search key words .They are saved as history on your device.  user can go to the history page and invoke the search in case you want to use it again.I liked the idea but I would have preferred the predictive text format more than the current fixed text search agent format.In some sense User interface & work flow  of street smart is not outstanding in terms of visual appeal but its functional and intuitive . I am sure that going forward Four interactive team will work on this aspect of application. outside of that, its a great application and given the wide range of local information available in their database it is a must have app on your phone. Do try it out and let me know how you feel about it .

Trapster : Cop and Mouse Game with Speed Traps.

As a Mobile App enthusiast I try out a lot of app. I love to believe that I have seen all possible use cases of mobile phone and most of the time I am right but once in a while I come across an app which make me say "Damn ! How come I never thought of it " .Trapster is one such app . Its an perfect example of how community collaboration,location info and real time connectivity offered by Mobile phone can be used for the purpose of handling a situation we all face . 

Idea behind Trapster is straightforward .It helps you to avoid speeding tickets by detecting and warning you about traffic cops,speed sensors,red light cameras,check points and mobile police patrol units when you are driving . Some of you who drive on highway might be familiar with the practice of blinking  side light and waving hand by drivers ahead of us to warn drivers following them about an upcoming obstacle. Trapster solve this problem in more elegant and systematic manner.


Trapster call itself as a speed-trap sharing social network. its modus operand is simple: All you need to do is to  simply install Trapster app on your Nokia device (OVI link) and register. Now Let's say I am cruising along  on highway with my Trapster enabled phone. Trapster app captures my location and  shows me the speed trap along the way . These speed traps are displayed  as marker icons on a map interface. As I approach a Speed trap (say a speed camera ,red light camera or hidden traffic cop) . I get a voice alert through application .These speed traps are stored in Trapster database in a Geo tagged fashion . This data base is continuously updated by contribution of Trapster community . You can add a new Speed trap by simply taping  on touch screenof your device when you drive past it .Trapster offer you choice of category to represent the nature of trap.Once you select the icon, That place is tagged with a an icon indicating the kind of threat you may face. you can also add a speed trap by calling an IVR Line . Trpaster's analytic engine validate the input using its validation heuristic like how many of other user have spotted it and your past contribution history. You can see a video demonstration of service here.


Trapster offer an excellent UI and Granular classification of data . There are 4 types of map view,7 type of Trap category,you can set a threshold distance  on which you want to be warned about an upcoming obstacle.you can also define the method of alert (sound ,Visual,Vibrate). so much so that you can  also choose the sound theme (your choice include Bill Clinton ,George Bush ,NY Taxi Driver and Spanish among many other) .Best thing about Trapster is that it doesn't sacrifice ease of use for granularity . Screens are neat and well designed,Work flows are cognitively consistent.

User interface and accuracy aside , much of the success of such a product depend on the community factor. how actively the community participate in creating and maintaining the database of Speedtrap . Now one might think that it will be an Herculean task to populate such database you might need a huge base of active contributors . well not really.According to Trapster CEO  only 10 active users can effectively cover major urban roads and  40% of Trapster users actively provide trap reports and validate the reports submitted by others this creates a self feeding and self correcting loop. I was surprised to see that their database had significant marker for Delhi NCR in spite of them not having any dedicated Indian presence . that's the testimony of scalability of their model.

One might argue that Trapster is a product on slippery slope of law. You are essentially trying to help people who want to dodge law enforcement agencies.Well Your argument will have some grain of truth but you will be surprised to know that trapster has found a champion amongst most unlikely of profession . Traffic Cops.Trapster has officially partnered with traffic cops at Travis county. you can read about it here.

I like the idea of Trapster and I can see it extended to many more domains  . I would love to see something like marker for Road Accidents in urban roads  and robbery on interstate highways. As a road trip aficionado  this will help me to plan my trip better . Now that I am equipped with Trapster I will be checking continuously for next alert and on my way back from work tonight I will mark few intersection in Noida where I know that Cops are often present . That's my version of COP and mouse game :)
 
Do try out Trapster and let me know your thoughts .

Foreca : Your Friendly Neighbourhood Weatherman

There are many good things about living in India . One of them is the kind of diversity you got to experience here . this diversity is not only in terms of culture ,language and cuisine . its in terms of climate also. Thanks to geographical variation , India is arguably only place in world where you have sand dune ,snow peak mountains, Rivers,plateau,beaches and cold deserts in same political boundary . Flip side of this is that you got to experience a great variation in weather. As a resident of Delhi for past 7 years I have experienced this extreme weather variation first hand .Not all of that was good . Last week was  horrendously harsh. Summer was at its peak and I was anxiously waiting for rain god to smile of my city. I made it a point to glance at weather widget on google daily.Couple of days back I checked ovi to see if there is a weather forecast application available . I was pleasantly surprised to find Foreca . A Free app for Weather forecast from Finland based Foreca Ltd.

Foreca Mobile app can be downloaded from ovi store (Link) or can be side loaded to your phone after downloading it on your PC from their website(link).ForecaWeather is available in two versions, one for S60 3rd and 5th edition devices and one for Java phones. Languages supported are English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Greek and Finnish.I  Downloaded it to my Nokia E63 .Installation was a smooth 3 step process .It asks you to specify your location for showing relevant weather update  to you.You can choose from over 140.000 hand picked locations or you can retrieve forecasts for your current location using your phone's GPS. You can also use the landmarks in your phone or you can enter a new location by coordinates. Weather information is shown at a very fine granular level . you have weather details like 
  • Current conditions 
  • Detailed forecast with 6h time-steps.
  • Long 10 day forecast.
  • Temperature forecast map
  • Precipitation forecast map
  • Symbol map.
  • Wind forecast map.
  • Cloudiness forecast map.
  • Satellite images
I was impressed by the level of detail and data visualization offered by Foreca. All the functionality mentioned above are shown, not as boring numbers and tables but also as graphs , maps and some map based Geo visualization format . That makes it very intuitive and easy to comprehend .some of the screen are shown in the image below. This will give you some idea about the visual aspect of this app.you can configure the app for preferred view .you can also set some calender alert and memo. this functionality is available on selected handsets only. 

Overall I like the foreca weather application. Its reach in functionality and appealing in visual . Its UI takes away all the cognitive stress associated with making sense of weather information presented in Tabular format. only point of slight problem was the fact that it took a lot of time to fetch weather data from server . this process was painfully slow on GSM. On WiFi it happened in a jiffy . I guess it might have something to do with the nature of problem. Meteorological data is heavy and GPRS connection are slow ( specially at peak hours when I downloaded the app) but it will be great if I can see some Improvement in data fetching aspect of app. Talking of Indian context I can foresee that this application will be of great importance to Frequent flayer ,Logistic companies and Farmers. It would be great if going forward they can offer support for Indic languages .for low end phones foreca also provide a mobile site and SMS Channel.Do try this app out and let me know your views .

As fate would have it while I was still waiting for rain in Delhi I got a call from my brother from Bangalore. He has to cancel his weekend trip due to heavy rain . I advised him that Next time onward he should check out weather Forecast on foreca mobile app before making plans :) .

Nokia Conversations : Threaded View for your SMS Inbox .

 
Nokia Beta Labs never fail to impress me . While Ovi gets all the attention and Media love for being a destination for cool applications for Nokia devices. some serious R&D work is being done in Nokia's Beta lab . I have been following the releases on Nokia's Beta lab for quiet sometime now . Some of them are cool, sophisticated and yet Easy to use . All most all of them deal with a basic and HUGE use case . Sometime back I had reviewed one of the Nokia beta lab product " Nokia Bots" on Lab Report . I wasn't expecting  to return to writing about another beta labs product so soon ( since they are in BETA and not quiet ready for end customers yet ) but I am glad to make an exception for Nokia Conversation App.

Nokia Conversation is a simple , ease to use ,No fuss app which allow you to arrange your text messages as a threaded conversations.SMS Inbox in most phone sort messages in a reverse chronological manner. this default arrangement is good when you need to check the latest message . but  Anyone who has got more than 100 sms in his inbox will tell you that how difficult it is to actually find an old SMS and make sense of SMS conversation happened in past.

You can download the application from Beta Lab website (registration needed) . file size is 123 KB and you need to side load it on to your device , using your PC . I Installed it on my Nokia E63 .Installation was smooth.Nokia Conversation doesn't replace your default SMS inbox UI. What it do is simply to provide a diff rent view of it ,When you need it.  on launching the application there is only a single screen where messages are grouped in threaded format according to sender-receiver . you can choose to expand any of these threads by clicking on them. you can also reply and carry on the conversation right form the application you don't need to launch a separate editor.you can also add different media like Picture, Video , Audio to your message by clicking on the "Option " menu.  The application shortcut also appear in your device as a new tab in your Contacts application. You can also set the application to be a short-cut key (e.g., left-soft-key or right-soft-key) or standby application icon in the Settings menu option in your terminal.


I wanted to retrieve an old SMS Conversation today , frustrated by the difficulty of finding it from the sea of 500 SMS. I googled for such apps and finally hit upon Nokia Conversation . My instinctive reaction after using the app was To use an analogy from inter web . to quote verbatim " Nokia Conversion transform  your Inbox from a outlook/hotmail like look to  a Gmail like look." and we all love Gmail don't we ?

Do try this out and let me know your thought ?

Auto On : To Keep your Mobile App "Always On "


When it comes to Mobile Apps ,one problem faced by power users is the problem of abundance . As I write this,there are 70+ applications installed on my device . I don't use all of them with same frequency. Some are used daily , some once in a while and some I use strictly when need arises which can be anything from next minute to next year. But when you need to use them at that time finding the application from the stack of icon and launching it is a  pain. Say I am driving down the highway and feel like looking at my Ovi Map for direction or do a voice search using Google .But both these apps are not launched at that time .I need to do it manually. Ergo for a long time I was looking for a solution where I can choose which application to launch at the time of starting phone. some apps automatically launch them self.  My e-mail client from NMS have in-built mechanisms to launch themselves every time my device starts but for rest of the apps  I have to manually launch them. Auto -On from Gurgaon based Migital serves exactly the same need.

Auto On is supported for Symbian series60 3rd edition and 5th Edition touch devices. you can buy it from Ovi store or get a trial version from Migital Website . I downloaded the trial version and side loaded it on my Nokia E63 . Installation was smooth . When you install the app it automatically activates itself such that it will run when you boot your cellphone.If needed You can also deactivate it.

After installation you need to configure the detail of apps you want to include in Auto-On's self start list. This can be done by going to application icon on the home screen of Auto On . Initially you will see a blank list. You can populate this list by going to "option" menu and selecting "Add". this will show you a list of every app installed on your device. you can mark your preference by clicking on the icon of application which you want to include .I selected some 8-10 application for self start . Some of them are shown in screen shot below . I restarted my device and Bingo !! those apps were ready to use . Auto-On worked as advertised :) .

Its my second day of using auto on. Since I was greedy so I selected a lot of apps initially . which took a lot of cellphone memory and slowed it down. Going further I hope there will be a feature which can show me implication of selecting an app in terms of Memory consumption so that I choose only those apps which are essential to me . A similar feature for battery consumption ( things like Always-On GPS is a huge drain on battery ) would also be nice to have.One unique selling point of Auto On is its look and feel. their UI is too good for a utilitarian application which will most probably be used only by power users.Kudos to Migital team for such a nice job.

Do try it out and let me know your thoughts .

IndiaRover : Your Freindly Neighborhood Search App .


Sometime back I reviewed  Zook, a mobile search application BY Ziva software. Zoosk is a horizontal search application,which starts from generic web and filter out result which are  optimized for Mobile phones. That's a huge market to address But there are many use case of mobile search where you don't need complete data of world wide web as a starting point.At times you want vertical search , you want to focus your search query oo a particular domain like Hotel,travel,food,stock quotes,news,dictionary,Wikipedia etc  for such use cases You need a small,locally relevant data set which is domain specific. One such use case for mobile search is hotel and restaurant search. Anyone who has  ever felt lost in a new city will testify for this need. Often time on weekends I feel like exploring some new stuff in my town but don't know where to look for such info. Similarly if you walk past a newly opened eating joint at your neighborhood shopping mall  you feel like reading its review before trying it out . Google search looks too big for such needs . Its like searching for needle in haystack. India Rovers Mobile application is trying to address this latent need only . Need of a mobile friendly search interface on top of a highly targeted,locally relevant and regularly updated database of local businesses around you.

India Rover in its Internet avatar is a city search site . their mobile app serves the same function on cell phone . Its currently supported only for symbian phones .you can download it from Ovi store (link) . It took me 3 minute to download it on my Nokia E63 from Ovi Store . installation was a smooth process with no need of registration or providing personal details. you are ready to use it after that. Home page of application consist of a search box on the top where you can search by keywords. beneath the search box there is a category wise directory listing of database. These category include sections like Restaurant,Entertainment ,local service etc.each category is further segregated in to various sub section. like restaurant category offers classification around cuisine, shopping category offers section for various type of product like clothing , electronics ,jewelery etc. I liked the granularity of this classification . I checked the amount of data available under some section , there was sufficient business listed in most of them. In the bottom of home page ,there is a section for deal hunting where you can search for offers and discount in your neighborhood .


 When you launch the application it determine your current location so that it optimize the result listing for you.  for using the keyword search you need to type in the keyword and press right soft key. it doesn't shows the listing directly it ask you to select your current city from a list followed by a request to choose preferred neighbourhood after that you get to see a list of result. I searched for pubs in Noida (its Saturday after all :) ). it shows a list of local watering holes . you can expand every entry to get its detail. detail page of every joint is very detailed and UI is very clean. It offers address,contact number,timings,Map,pics and reviews of place.Review section was mostly empty but since they allow you to post review of your own so I hope this will change as more and more people start using it. Another nice feature of detail page is that on this screen left soft key is mapped to the phone number of restaurant listed here.You can call the restaurant by simply pressing the left soft key . I personally find it very convenient .In discount section the data is organized in similar fashion . from the first look it seems that all the discount listed here are not exclusive to India Rover community .these are walk-in discounts . But that doesn't negate the value of having them all at one place for quick and comparative decision making . As someone who spend a lot of money ( lot by my standard ) on suboptimal deals I intend to use THIS feature a lot in days to come.

Much of adaptation of such application depend upon two things (1) Richness and relevance of data (2) ease of use of interface. On first count IndiaRover score a home run .though its not obvious from their product info that whether they are creating their own data or buying syndicated data or betting on community to fill the data . Honestly it can be a mix of all three approach .I think it will be a good idea if they partner with review sites or discount coupon disbursement sites or  aggregate review published on third party site . This will greatly enhance the value proposition for end user.On user interface front I find their UI and work flow to be light weight and intuitive .  There won't be much of a learning curve for average user. only thing which I found a little out of place was their choice of Right soft key for triggering the keyword search .It might be a matter of personal preference but this key-to-functionality  mapping was less than intuitive for me.I would love to know how rest of you feel about it .

I found India Rovers mobile app to be a decent attempt to solve a problem we all face.it will be interesting to see how the product evolve in future .I will keep you posted .Do check it out and let me know if you got a good deal via India Rover.  Enjoy your weekend !

Mobi Watchman :: Live your Life. Let Watchman do the vigil.

 Some time back I made a post  on Lab Report discussing the need of innovation in those category of mobile application where market is already evolved and crowded . Usually start up avoid such crowded space unless they have something extraordinary feature set to differentiate their offering from the clutter . Its not an easy task but its a worthy goal nevertheless. For with evolved category comes a validation of customer need , pre existing user awareness, distribution Chanel and willingness to pay for the service offered. When it comes to Mobile Apps this phenomena is most visible in the category of SPAM Manager & call manager application.  Heated discussion on my post about XBlockr is a testimony of that . Today I am going to tell you about one more Indian application in this domain : Mobile Watchman .

Developed by Pune based Optinno Mobitech, Mobile Watchmen is an App that blocks calls and SMS as per user's  settings. This application runs in the background so that regular mobile phone tasks are not affected.Mobi Watchman uses a proprietary algorithmic logic to intelligently sense the spam. user can also define the parameter with in which this algorithm works .

You can download the application from the download page of their website .It cost Rs 199  only . There is no try and buy functionality available as of now .To buy this app you can pay by online using your cerdit /debit card. On realization of payment they send you a product key  via email.  You also need to provide IMEI number of your device. The installation file your get is linked to your handset's IMEI number. I downloaded the installation file on my PC . It was of 523 KB in size . I side loaded it on my Nokia E63 . Installation was a smooth 3 step process . After installation it asks me to punch in the product key.after that you are ready to roll.

Mobi Watchman allow approach the problem of spamming in two ways . SMS Spam and Call Spam .If you receive an SMS from a number not stored in your mobile phone book or from a sender not mentioned in your ‘Trusted SMS Sender’ list, you will see a ‘Suspicious Message’ pop up. Just by pressing ‘OK’, you can directly add the sender in SMS block list. Note that you can see a preview of the SMS content. So without opening the SMS, you can decide to block the sender from the pop up itself.

You have functionality like Trusted SMS sender's list where you can provide the detail of all those number who are not spammers. When you receive an SMS from a number not stored in your mobile phonebook or from a sender not mentioned in your ‘Trusted SMS Sender’ list, you will see a ‘Suspicious Message’ pop up. Just by pressing ‘OK’, you can directly add the sender in SMS block list.

You can block messages using keyword based filtering too . For instance I hate receiving promotional messages from Real Estate developers( Not enough money :( ). so I can block any SMS which is coming from a unknown number and has got keywords like "FLAT" ,"3 BHK", "Noida" in it .I have configured 5 such filters on it since yesterday . This was the kind of  granular control I was always looking for .



You have similar control for phone calls too .If you receive a call from a number not stored in your mobile phonebook, you will see a ‘Suspicious Call’ pop-up at the end of the call. Just by pressing ‘OK’, you can directly add the number in the Call block list.

You can block them by defining policy for unknown fixed line number,unknown cell number etc . Mobi Watchmen also offer an Seamless Integration with phonebook, call logs, SMS inbox. so that you don't have to manually enter the number in block list.You can access the detail of block sms and calls later at your own convenience .They are stored in ‘Bin' folder and block call list respectively . A detailed list of the functionality is available on their website (link).

Mobi Watchmen is a  thoroughly  researched and elegantly  implemented mobile application . This is a quite an impressive achievement given the fact that its a version one of their application. I am sure their will be a lot of cool feature to be added in subsequent releases . Personally I find that they need to work on their sign up process.Their should be a provision for receiving your product key on SMS and installing your app direct on your device . I am sure these issues will be addressed in days to come as they collaborate with Ovi Store and other distribution medium.

Do try this out and let me know how you feel about it ?

Ovi App Wizard : Let A Thousand Application Bloom .


One of the most underdeveloped component of mobile software stack is  mobile browser. While last few year has seen immense growth in the hardware capability of device and user experience in mobile applications. But things still remains less than perfect on mobile browsers front. In addition to browser capability  there is a problem of  Majority of the web pages on internet not being optimized for rendering on mobile devices. That’s why most of the leading blogs and other websites  have their content available via  Applications  on various app stores. Mobile App is an efficient, elegant way of ensuring that Good content is delivered to user with great user experience. But creating a Mobile app is a complicated and expensive proposition .Very few publishers have resources and bandwidth to developed an app for their publication. It's next to impossible for non techie users ;for instance there is no way in hell that the lady next door to my apartment ,who publish a culinary blog for documenting her recipes, will ever think of doing that. To mobile optimize  the internet content in any significant manner we need an easy to use, rapid application development (RAD) tool which enables anyone to create an application. Ovi App Wizard from Nokia is an attempt in that direction.  


The Ovi App Wizard allows you to mobilize content with just a few clicks in just a few minutes. RSS and Atom feeds for blogs, YouTube, Twitter and news are formatted into a WRT or Java application for your Nokia device. These apps work on most of the device that supports Ovi Store. The whole process of creating application is simple, fast and intuitive. You can start by simply pointing your desktop browser to http://oviappwizard.com. You need to register yourself to publish the application .you get an OVI Store Publisher account on submitting your app through App Wizard. Registration is simple, you need to enter few details and it sends you a confirmation email immediately. You can immediately start working on your app. All you need to do is to provide RSS feed /web URL of the site for which you want to create application. On the right hand side of page there is an emulator which shows a preview of how your content will be rendered in final application. You can also add extra feeds from your Twitter, facebook and YouTube account to it. You need to press "Next" button to proceed further. It shows a pop up dialogue box with legal disclaimers and content publishing guideline. It essentially says that you are rightful owner of content you are publishing and it doesn’t contain any offensive, pornographic material.


In next step you can customize the look and feel of your app by choosing a logo and changing color scheme of your app.In subsequent step Ovi Wizard offer you a choice to monetize your app by adding advertisement to it. Right now this choice is limited to two ad networks Millennial Media or MPressions .you can choose to opt out of it. It’s entirely at your discretion.

In the final stage of the process you need to provide little description of your application, which will appear on Ovi download page of your app. You also need to choose a category under which your app will be listed. You can limit the distribution to a certain geographical user base by choosing an option from target market. You can choose any price point from Free to up to EURO 5 per download. Press submit button and your app is submitted to Ovi store for review and approval. Depending upon the number of submitted apps, it might take anywhere between 24 Hrs to a week in getting necessary clearance from Ovi .After that your app will be available for download via Ovi store.

Ovi Wizard is a commendable effort by Nokia to bring mobile publishing to masses and bring mainstream acceptance to Mobile application. If executed well it holds the potential of creating a huge amount of Mobile optimize content. If I have created an app for Lab Report, its awaiting approval right now, I will inform you when it’s available for you to download. Keep watching this space. Do try OviWizard and let me know your thoughts about it.

Zook : A New Approach to Mobile Search


As a Mobile App enthusiast it always fascinate me to see how user behavior changes when a certain activity /task is shifted from PC Internet to mobile Internet. Biggest mistake product manager commit is to assume that change in user behavior will be primarily driven by the constraint imposed by mobile phone. A commonly held axiom is that activity level usually decreases from PC to mobile. For example if I write long verbose  reply to emails from my laptop , I will probably be writing short 3-4 lines long email  messages on my blackberry (keypad constraint) .If I read a long article,leisurely on my PC then on my cellphone I will be snacking on bit sized content piece (screen size constraint). If I watch full length movies on PC ,I will see clips on mobile (bandwidth constraints ) .While these assumptions are heuristically correct but they leaves a large number of use cases un explored which lead to a HUGE potential untapped  which could have been tapped only through the medium of cellphone.


Search is a case in point .when you carry out a search in desktop paradigm your looking for content related to that query . when I look for something like say "Kingfisher Beer" on PC, potentially relevant results for me are corporate website of UB group , wikipedia entry for Beer , advert to latest campaign ,related News item etc. But when I carry out the same search using a mobile my potentially suitable result will also include wallpaper Kingfisher logo, Kingfisher's Good Time Ring tone , Theme, SMS forward with Kingfisher word in it , Store locator's showing nearest bar serving the brew, discount coupon to beer etc . These additional results might be of no value to me on PC but on mobile my propensity of consuming these content is more. Based on this information one can make a pretty strong case that when it come to mobile phone we need to not only optimize search but also modify it .




 Zook is an search application from Bangalore based Ziva software which is trying to do just that. they are modifying and presenting the search result tailor made for Mobile phone . I am very fascinated by their value proposition . You can download Zook client from the website by pointing your mobile browser to www.zook.in/client or you can download the app on to your PC from http://www.zook.in/client/phonelist.html and side load  it to your cellphone . application size is of `198 kb and its supported for most of the popular Nokia devices . Installation on My Nokia E63 was smooth and glitch free. once the app is installed and you start it . it takes sometime to calculate the current location of user and after that you are ready to go . Interface is very similar to  clean and standard Search engine.only difference is that underneath the main search box there are section for Movie ,coupon,deal ,event,local etc .


 I searched for the term "BAR" . In addition to the organic result I got a pointer to the nearest bar , there was option for  click to call or save number to phone book. This make the whole experience very mobile friendly.Other result are  categorized under various sections as shown in screenshot below. you can browse them by clciking to every category link and expanding it .There is a social angle to Zook search also .You can query the Zook community or your specific group of friends to tell you, for example, what they think of the movie or restaurant before going to it. Zook can even tell which of your 'active' friends (those users in your phone book whose numbers have been promoted to Zook and also use Zook themselves) are nearest to you. this functionality is a huge differentiators for Zook . It allow the to seamlessly integrate the social recommendations in search results.

I am using it for past couple of weeks and I am very impressed by it and I am not alone, Zook has a significant fan following amongst its user. They were showcased by  Nokia in featured application section some time back . Do try Zook and do let me know your views. 

X BLOCKR : An App to Duck ,Drop or Divert Unwanted Calls .


 Much as I like the convenience of cellphone and freedom it offers to my family and friends to reach me at anytime ,still it won't stop me from asserting that this freedom comes at a price . And there are days when this price seems to be a bit too much . when you are connected ,then everyone from credit card salesperson to automated IVR based advertisements bid for your attention. you always run a risk of getting  distracted. In addition to these unsolicited calls there are people whom you know ,but who call you at wrong/ inconvenient hours .While you can afford to ignore the unsolicited calls but ignoring calls from people you know is tricky .you don't want to offend them.

All these situation are the reason why there is a plethora of call management application available . Their is a genuine need for such applications but unfortunately in spite of all these offering, the problem is far from solved . Adaptation of all these call management software is very little . I have tried 6 such device based application and 2 Network based call management services but none of them worked for me . from UI to work flow to configuration there were many issue with them. All I was looking for was a simple.easy to use  app which do what I mentioned above . XBLOCKR is one such application which is nearest to my idea of good call management application.  

Developed by Bangalore based Aquilonis Technologies ,X Blockr is an nifty app which help you to handle unwanted calls. its supported for Symbian ,Windows Mobile and BlackBerry Phones.Its a paid application with the price tag of $20 for international users, but it is specially priced at Rs. 349/- for Indian users. You can have a 100 call  Trial version for free . This trial version can be downloaded from their website( link). I sideloaded Xblocker to my  Nokia E63 . Installation was a smooth two step process . I was ready to use it instantly.

   
X blocker offer you a variety of response for spam calls .With Xblcoker you can choose to DUCK,DROP or DIVERT the call you don't want to answer . When you choose to  "Duck" a call ,the caller will hear a default busy message provided by the operator if you are subscribing to voice mail service this will be diverted to your voice mail box. There is also an option to duck with SMS, In that case app will send an automatic message to caller.You can also choose to "DROP" the call , doing this will answer the call for a second and disconnects instantly. This will sound like a network error to the caller .Finally there is an option to divert the call to a number of your choice .All of these three option can either be applied on case-by-case basis or can be configured as a default response to a specific number .Here one of the differentiators or  USP of Xblockr is the flexibility it offer to user to choose response on run time . User can choose to duck,drop or divert the call when He/She receive the call or at the end of call.This makes the list management very easy. 

In addition to that there is a functionality to define "Mode". By defining the mode you allocate a default response to every incoming call. As long as  XBLOCKR is set to that mode every call you receive will be answered with the response of your choice. There is also a provision to make a list of special number which can override the mode preference .As an end user I like this kind of granular control over incoming calls. A word of caution : You SHOULD put your Wife's number in that special number's list, whether you put your Boss's number there is entirely up to you :) .

I had a brief conversation with Mr.Rahul Rajguru ,CEO of Aquilonis Technologies. He mentioned that customer response to XBlockr has been very encouraging. they have acquired more than 25,000 downloads in less than two months.they are coming up Android support very soon and will be introducing New enhancements in  existing applications very soon. I will surely check them out. Do try X Blockr and let me know what you think of it .

Mundu : Best IM App For Your Mobile Device



There are many way in which Mobile Internet is different from PC Internet. but there is one thing in which there is striking similarity in both medium . That is,The sequence  in which new user try out application . Like PC,first and foremost use case of Mobile DATA is Email,then its WAP surfing , Once a user get comfortable with  Email & WAP he graduate to ? Your guess is as good as mine ,Instant Messaging /Chat . Essentially its the need to have an instant and always-on connectivity which shape our choice of apps. while there are reasonably robust client app available for Email ( Gmail ,RIM BB , NMS) and WAP ( Opera, Skyfire ,Webkit) but there is no such universally accepted benchmark application for Instant Messaging. Mundu Instant messenger can fill this gap .Developed by Mumbai based  Geodesic System , Mundu is a paid application . you need to shell out USD $11 for getting one . however you can get a trial version for free by pointing your mobile browser to http://m.mundu.com. Its supported for all leading mobile platform S60, JAVA, WM,Palm,RIM OS and iPhone .

Functionality :
Mundu is a nicely designed Mobile IM application which runs on XMPP-Jabber Protocol ,ergo its compatible with all major Instant messengers like YAHOO,GTalk,MSN,AIM,ICQ etc. I installed it on my Nokia E63 and Blackberry . Installation was smooth . I logged in to the application using my G Talk Credential . it shown a list of all my contact . you can segregate contacts by there connectivity status ie you can choose to see only those users which are online at that point of time. if you are logged into multiple IM services than you can also segregate them based on  each service . Other regular IM feature like change in status message ,support for background mode,conference across multiple IM services etc are also available .

You can also share images and other files with your chat buddies.Customize the color and style of chat text with a range of exciting rich text options and also with a range of emoticons. You can customize sounds, pop-up, vibration preferences for all IM alerts. It can send e-mail notifications whenever you receive new mail in your Gmail, MSN, or Yahoo! accounts. It supports some European languages, too, so you don't have to chat exclusively in English.

My Take :

The best thing about Mundu is its Excellent User interface . For such a feature rich application Mundu has got an extremely clean and intuitive UI & work flow .This kind of simplicity is hard to achieve in mobile applications. There are some minor deference in terms of swiftness and experience across various platform but that's more of the problem of underlying OS than application itself. Getting PC like IM experience replicated on resource constrained environment of a mobile phone is a tough task , but Mundu has demonstrated that it can be done with right kind of UI and under the hood optimization . Big Kudos to Geodesic team for this .Do try out Mundu IM . I am sure you will end up buying full version . Trust me its USD $ 11 well spent .

IndiSMS : Send Text Messages in your Native Language

 Fact that masses in India has embraced Mobile phone in a spectacular manner is an old news. We are the fastest growing telecom market in world. Its only  logical to  extrapolate that this huge user base represent a huge untapped potential for content consumption and creation. However this content revolution hasn't really happened in India yet . There are many roadblocks . there are some unresolved issues with device .Things like keypad layout is not optimized for indic language input ,inability to support rendering of Indic language content on majority of devices etc .Most devices today are inherently incapable to render Indic language content on their screens. There are many companies who are trying to crack this market by creating applications which enable Indic content on Mobile phones. IndiSMS from Eterno Infotech is one such application. It allow user to create SMS in Indian languages .

IndiSMS is a mobile application that helps people send & received SMSs in Indian languages. Anyone  can  download the application and use.you can download the application from website (link)  or get it from Ovi store (link) .It is supported for all S60 devices and all major Samsung ,Sony Ericssion and Motorola devices . you can get the list of supported devices here. Its a free application .There are no charges for downloading or using IndiSMS application. only one standard SMS charge to get activation code.App size is of 389KB .I downloaded it on my Nokia E63 . It was a smooth installation with only couple of intermediate steps.after installation you are ready to send and receive  text messages in 9 Indian language. Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil.



IndiSMS uses Transliteration method for accepting input on Mobile phones. this essentially means that you need not to modify the keyboard layout of device or learn new technique of keying in the input. all you need to do is to simply enter phonetic equivalent of word and IndiSMS will display it into your prefered language. Thanks to our habit of sending messages in hinglish, the learning curve for user to master transliteration is very little . Most user can pick it up on the fly. There is no extra price you need to pay for sending SMS using IndiSMS , Each message sent using IndiSMS will cost you the standard charges that you pay your mobile operator for short messages.however because out going message is sent in unicode so there is a restriction on Maximum number of character which can be sent per SMS.It can send only 70 characters in an Indian language message versus 160 characters in English. if you continue typing beyond the limit of 70 characters ,the extra characters will get split into a second message automatically.Since its a Unicode based application ,ergo on recieving end, messages are displayed properly on all those phones which are unicode compliant .

Sometime back I have reviewed another application by Eterno Infortech . Its called NewsHunt.What I like about IndiSMS and other product from Eterno is their approach toward solving the problem of Indic content in India. IndiSMS is a part of suit of Indic language products developed by Eterno.IndiSMS do an excellent job of providing user first glimpse of  Indic Language capability of mobile devices. Thanks to the popularity of SMS in India we couldn't have asked for a better use case. This can be a steeping stone for user to adopt various other usage like reading news , browsing  music catalog in Indic Languages etc . This step by step approach of exposing user to Indic language content can do a wonderful job of seeding user interest in this field . Do try this out yourself and surprise your friends by sending a SMS in your native language .