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Nokia eyes GeNext to tap mobile email mkt

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 02, 2011 12:48 PM
Finnish handset giant banks on youth to be in the technology race

In a booming market, the rich as well as the poor might like to shrink the Internet--at least while on the go.

To woo 20-something, jet-set executives and the man on the street with no computer, cellphone firm Nokia has begun to boost its mobile email market.

By targeting business users, in competition with other handheld service providers like BlackBerry, Nokia's 'all-new' E63 model has a whole range of business and personal mail and media options built in, said Viral Oza, the Finnish firm's India head of media and online marketing on Tuesday.

Unrelated, earlier mobile operator MTS launched a prepaid service with free surfing for websites like Yahoo and Wikipedia.

Airtel and BSNL also have introduced affordable Internet plans.

Oza said his company targets people aged below 25, a population segment expected to grow from the current share of 47 per cent to 55 per cent by 2016. "It is a generation that has grown with technology, entering professions, at the same time wanting to keep in touch with their friends," he said. So they get corporate mail, personal media and chatting in future. The firm is set to launch its instant messaging, Ovi Chat, in India soon, he added.

Meanwhile, there are also downloadable free email solutions, including 'pushmail', which are compatible with scores of other models, Oza said.

Pushmail that allows real-time delivery without logging in and collecting (pulling) mail manually is a boon to executives on the move. You can get icons for your Microsoft Exchange, Gmail and Yahoo on your handset--and even link your mobile to your office mail server.

At the same time, first-time email user can register with the free Ovi Mail--without using a computer. Ovi--meaning door in Finnish--is Nokia's Internet services brand that covers games, music, maps and messaging.

Observers see this as part of the technology trend in the country. Mobile email users are growing at 96 per cent a year to cross 50 million by 2014, experts note. Only six per cent of the mobile users have email access on their handsets, while 78 per cent would like to have it, Oza pointed out.

"For most of our people mobile phone will be the only way to access the Internet," said Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Centre for Internet and Society here. As opposed to personal computers, cellphones are cheap, sharable, portable and are easily chargeable.

However, Abraham noted that Nokia, a pioneer in userfriendly and innovative cellphone interfaces, now has lagged behind in the tech race and has to catch up with better and more creative features.

"You have to make it all simple and accessible," he said.

Growing from its device market, Nokia is now moving more into the Internet arena in direct competition with players like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Apple. Experts note that the battle among handset makers, portals and mobile telephony operators will intensify this year as economies are recovering after the slowdown.

Read the original story in India Today

Filed under:
ASPI-CIS Partnership


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