Tales from India is a series which will focus on the work of my fellow countrymen, several of whom I have the pleasure to meet and sometimes even work with in my role as an organizer at Google Developer Group New Delhi.
To say that the smartphone market in India has matured in the last year or two would be a major understatement. I still remember the struggles of my early years as a developer, back in 2011, when I would be delighted to spot someone on the Delhi Metro (our subway system) using an Android device. Since pretty much none of my friends had one, I hardly ever managed to get some one-on-one feedback, and most importantly, the early users.
Fast forward to today, and the platform is miles ahead of the competition in the country. When I say everyone has at least a vague idea what Android is, I mean it. In fact, it’s almost taken for granted that if a person goes out to buy a smartphone, he or she would be buying a “droid” (yes, Verizon’s branding strangely exists here too).
The work developers put in played a huge part in this change, of course, and to highlight their importance, the Bangalore’s Google Developer Group and Android User Group (special thanks to Google, of course, for sponsoring it) hosted an expo which featured some of the best apps from the country on January 5. Three apps were chosen by the judges as the best of the best, and are featured below.
From the developers behind the famous Android voice-based speech assistant Iris, Friday is an app that records nearly your entire life (sounds a bit scary, doesn’t it?). By keeping track of all the calls you received or made, the messages sent and even your social networking activity, and storing in a structured manner, Friday aims to make it easy for you to search your past.
Plustxt is, at first look, yet another messaging app. But believe me when I say that it has some neat little tricks under its hood. For example, it supports 7 Indian languages, a crucial feature in the country. Additionally, in a SnapChat kind of way, you can delete any texts you have sent from the receiver’s app. The difference with SnapChat (and Facebook’s new Poke app on iOS) is that the texts are not timed to be deleted on their own (which can be set, if the sender wishes) but at any moment with the sender’s discretion. You can also prevent texts from being forwarded.
In a country as diverse as India, NewsHunt plays an important role by providing a one-stop shop for news from all the corners of the country. Importantly, it also supports regional languages, and has partnerships with some of the biggest Indian media houses with a total of over 75 publications for readers to choose from.