With more than 130 million broadband connections and exploding smartphone connections that promise to multiply Net-linked Indians, the focus is now on applications (apps) that enhance lifestyles for India. So you can eat, pray, love and do much else with apps.
If you have not discovered some already, let us guide you on some happening apps. Not everything is available on all platforms (OS), of course. You should be able to get these apps on the app stores of your OS.
Saavn (iOS and Android), Gaana (Android, iOS, Blackberry, Java, Windows) and Hungama (Android, iOS, Blackberry) help you find free music online. Saavan and Gaana have large libraries, but Hungamalets you discover music in a more intuitive way.
Saavn and Gaana now have paid subscription services as well, which allow you to save songs for off-line enjoyment. These songs are only available so long as your subscription is active: the day you stop paying, the music files turn inoperable. The good thing is that you can virtually become your own radio jockey, and draw up a playlist of favourite numbers without ad breaks .
When the Indian Railways put its ticketing online (IRCTC.co.in), it was a quantum jump. You no longer needed to queue up for that ticket, you could track the status of a wait-listed ticket, and the Railways has itself broadened its use by starting mobile ticketing centres that use wireless Internet to connect to its server.
A number of applications from independent developers, such as Indian Railway Enquiry (Windows), Indian Rail Info App (Android) and Indian Railway Lite (iOS) let you query and find trains, and even track your ticket (PNR number), though you will still need to go to IRCTC to book the ticket. The Cleartrip app (Android, iOS, Windows) lets you book rail tickets as well as flights and hotels, while MakeMyTrip and GoIbibo can do bus tickets as well.
There are many more Indian apps, such as ones for yoga lovers, Delhi Metro travelers, cricket lovers or classical music afficianados or news junkies.
There is even Sari App! The list can go on and on. We suggest you feel your way around on your app stores or simply use that god called Google to match your special interests.
You can’t be in the land of prolific Bollywood and miss out on the flicks! Spuul (iOS and Android) lets you watch Indian movies and TV shows for free (with ads, alas!). If you shell out $4.99 (R285) a month, it gives you an unlimited stream of free and premium movies. Special movies need to be rented at $0.99-2.99 per movie.
BigFlix (iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry) offers a Rs 249-per-month, no-limit plan that has thousands of movies across languages, with no ads, breaks or other mood-spoilers. Buy the annual plan, and it works out to just Rs 149 a month.
If the small screen is your thing, go for Mundu TV (Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry) and make your own subscription pack just like you do on your satellite TV connection starting at R127 a month. And watch TV live while on the move.
Lost your way in a strange city? Fear not! Map My India (R2,500 on iOS, R250 on Android, free on Blackberry) was the first-mover in digitally mapping India. And they did it themselves, created their own database with first-hand surveys. With properly marked addresses and roads, buildings in 3D that help you pinpoint your location, and a brilliant point-of-interest database that lets you to search by house number and address in 30 cities, MapMyIndia is literally streets ahead of the competition.
Among free apps, there is Google Maps, but MapMyIndia is much more precise, be it within cities or on the highways. There are other stand-alone navigational devices and maps, but not apps.
So you are the gourmet type that loves to try out cuisines and paint the town over weekends?
Zomato (available on Android, Windows, iOS and Blackberry) lets you look for restaurants by city, by locales in a city, by cuisine or even by dish! Be it a small joint that sells vada-sambar in Chandigarh or a hole-in-the-wall that serves up pasta in Thiruvananthapuram, Zomato, it zooms in on your perfect eatery.
If you have already zeroed in on your target restaurant, Food Panda (available on iOS) and Just Eat (available on Windows, iOS and Android) let you do a wide array of stuff such as booking a table and ordering takeaways.
Food Panda also lets you store your orders for a re-order, and its in-built coupons get you a discount at some restaurants.