Earlier this month, India surpassed the U.S. as the second-largest mobile market (by subscriber count) in the world. With close to 280 million subscribers, it now has enough of a user base to become a breeding ground for a new class of applications that take into account local realities such as a lack of high -peed networks, cheap phones and a reliance on SMS.
Take Yulop, a Bangalore, India-based location-based startup. Instead of waiting around for GPS data, the tiny company is launching its location-based search service, which uses triangulation technologies and offers consumers listings of find businesses (shops, restaurants and) based on geo-tagged data from its database. Yulop plans to offer service in six cities in addition to its current market of Bangalore.
By offering its downloadable app, Yulop seems to have beat a lot of its big competitors to the punch in what will be a very competitive market. Google, Microsoft and Nokia are chasing the same opportunity. Whether Yulop makes it to the big time remains to be seen, but its approach makes a lot of sense.
While in the Western economies, the easy availability of mapping and local data makes its easier for companies to think about building LBS apps; Yulop is taking a more pragmatic approach: Triangulation is the only option in this market. Similarly, having a properly tagged information database helps the tiny company offer up more accurate results in the local market. I think we will see more of this trend, where local companies adapt some of the “overseas” concepts to meet the needs of Indian wireless subscribers.