This is a guest post by Sita Kanta who runs MySmartPrice. If you would like to write for CallingAllGeeks, do check out our adsense revenue sharing program.
Every time someone mentions innovation and mobile phones in the same sentence, people start thinking of Amoled Screens, 12 mega pixel cameras or NFC. However a lot of less sexy innovations have made the mobiles more useful/ accessible to millions of Indians in an affordable manner.
IBall Aassan: A phone for the elderly
In a world where every company is busy thinking of cool ideas to appeal to the younger generation, the requirements of the elderly are neglected quite easily. Most elder people struggle to figure out the functionality of a phone or to identify the keys. Simply by making use of larger buttons and dual language support, IBall has made use of mobile phone hassle free for the elderly people. The one click SOS button is the most useful feature of the phone. Basically you can store some numbers as the SOS number and the user of Aasaan can call the number by simply pushing the SOS key(present on the backside of the phone) downward, without having to remember how to navigate to the contact book, find your mobile and then make a call.
Intex Vision : A phone for visually challenged people
The phone has got a brailey keyboard so that people without vision can use it without much problem. The phone can also speak the keys loudly to enable easy use for blind people. Similar to the IBall Aasaan, the Intex Vision has a SOS call button at the back. The user can store upto four numbers and then make a call with simple touch of the key.
There is no way to miss the TVC for Spice Popkorn, which is a projector phone. The projector phone converts the mobile phone into the main source of entertainment for a lot of people. The phone includes an analog TV chip and supports lot of free TV channels, thereby increasing the rate of TV penetration in India which in turn will result in increased awareness level. This is not the first phone to carry a projector. However this seems to be the first one that will take the concept to the masses.
Micromax Marathon Battery Phones
One of the biggest challenges for mobile usage in the rural India is the lack of power. There are many villages in India which do not get power at all or feel lucky to get power for a couple of days in a month. Charging the mobile can involve a 40 km travel in such places. To ease such issues Micromax came up with the marathon battery series phones. It is not unusual for such phones to have 70 hours of talk time and more than a month of stand up time. Without this feature ,the penetration of mobiles in India would have been really low. (P.S: I could not find if marathon battery was used by other companies before Micromax. Please let me know in the comments if you have any information)
Nokia 1100 – The phone with a torch:
The marathon batteries keep the mobiles on during power cuts while with Nokia 1100, Nokia tried to make people’s lives easier during power cuts. The Nokia 1100 was the first phone to come with a built in torch. If you are not convinced about the impact of such a simple idea, then go through this article by Wharton. This 2008 article actually uses this as one of the reasons for Nokia’s success in India.
These five phones go on to prove that the bottom of pyramid is not just a theory. It is very much possible to innovate and profit from mobiles selling below 10,000. Let us know if there is some other affordable innovation that you are aware of.