KARACHI: On the second – and final – day of the Nokia App Summit 2012, the guests were familiarised with the fact that slowly but surely, locally developed mobile applications (apps) are gaining popularity in Pakistan’s mobile software market.
“Downloads of religious apps increase by a great deal during Ramazan,” Syed Muhammad Shoaib, one of Nokia’s brand ambassadors, informed attendees while presenting Prayer Time – one of the most sought-after apps during Ramazan.
“If one wants to know how much Zakat they have to pay,” continued Shoaib, “they can use the Zakat Calculator.” He then demonstrated how the software, available in Urdu only, actually works. “Search Quran is another app whose downloads increase during the holy month,” he revealed.
The number of downloads of localised social, gaming and religious apps have increased over the last couple of years according to Nokia officials. Over 2 million apps are downloaded every week in Pakistan from Nokia’s Ovi app store, compared to only 50,000 downloads per week in 2010 the officials revealed.
Bilal Alam, Business Development manager at Tricastmedia, claimed their flagship Cricket Companion app earned 194 million page views during the 2011 cricket World Cup – more than that of Cricinfo (a website dedicate to cricket trivia and news), he asserted.
While the numbers for social, gaming and religious app downloads look impressive, Nokia Pakistan wants to expand its mobile ecosystem to other important sectors – one of the main reasons behind organising the Nokia App Summit.
“By means of this workshop, we have trained more than 50 app developers. These programmers will now go back and develop more localised apps,” Business Development Manager, DX for Nokia Near East region Rabia Nizami said.
“We have been working with these developers for the past two years. We have trained them and built the momentum for going one step forward,” Nizami said. Besides training programmers Nokia also took the corporate sector on board so that the latter could use the platform to promote their brands, and thus promote generation of more localised content.
“Pakistan is known mainly as a software exporter; this perception will soon change. Local programmers have started thinking that this country has a lot of potential for localised content and that content can be monetised as well,” Nokia Pakistan and Afghanistan Head of PR and Communications Adeel Hashmi told The Express Tribune. “This was the major feedback we got from this event,” he added.
“This was the first time mobile software developers, manufacturers and advertisers were gathered together on a single platform,” Hashmi said. “This platform will support young and shy developers to come forward and share their ideas with brand managers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2012.
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