Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has tied up with the Bhaskar Group to offer news content in Hindi and Gujarati via GPRS, by means of a mobile application. The news on offer includes sports, travel, music, astrology and movies. Nokia had earlier tied up with Malayala Manorama for similar content in Malayalam. The service is apparently free for consumers, but do the Bhaskar group or Malayala Manorama make any money from it? Also, with Nokia now focusing on adding services to their handsets, will they pre-embed any such services? I think they’re looking at services as hygiene factors – so consumers that get used to these services will not switch to handsets from other manufacturers.
While Nokia hopes that (according to the release) “This unique news portal is aimed to bridge the digital divide and bring the internet revolution to the masses”, I don’t see it happening anytime soon: GPRS costs are still very high, and it’s a pain to get it activated…after a week of repeatedly asking Airtel to activate my GPRS a couple of months ago, I told them to forget it.