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Convergence of mobile services on the cards

Handset makers are eyeing the next stage of evolution — of convergence where web and other value added services like gaming, music and so on all come together on the mobile phone. A report by Saurabh Turakhia.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2008 21:27 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

Global handset manufacturers appear to be eyeing the next stage of evolution — of convergence where web and other value added services like gaming, navigation, music, social networking and so on all come together on the mobile phone.

Recent moves made by big handset manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola are clearly a sign of the optimism they have in the value-added services (VAS) business.

It was not surprising then that search engine giant Google set about plans to develop mobile phones. Apple’s successful offering of iPhone and iTunes was proof that new media companies in the web and the telephony space are readying for convergence.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Vineet Taneja, multimedia business director of Nokia, said, “We are certainly enthusiastic about gaming, music, navigation, social networking etc. Our Ovi platform will enable users to organise their content, among other things, and be a single window for multiple web activities.”

Ovi, which means the door in Finnish, is an advanced Internet services platform that the mobile giant plans to launch in a big way in the country some time this year.

Whether it is navigation, gaming or music, Nokia has made relevant acquisitions — acquiring navigation software maker Navteq, mobile music service company Loudeye and mobile advertising firm Enpocket — to ensure a presence in all these elements of the big consumption value chain.

Neeraj Roy, CEO of Hungama, a mobile and web content aggregator, says: “True, convergence is taking place. Most handset manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung and Motorola are keen to develop a relationship with the subscribers beyond the basic voice transactions. Apple’s iPhone, which is yet to arrive in India (expected to hit the Indian market by April 2008) has revealed an amazing business model to strike a relationship with consumers in multiple ways.”

Manoj Dawane, CEO of People Infocom (Mauj), agrees with Roy and says:“ Any of the parties — device manufacturers (like Nokia), operators or large media companies (like Reliance or Eros) can get into offering content services. Companies are see a lot of promise in value added services.”