Sunday, January 16, 2011

Speed thrills: 3G breaks music, gaming barriers

Full-track live streaming of songs, videos on a rise
The desire to stay connected with friends on video calls had prompted Atul Akkar to buy a 3G-enabled smartphone with a front camera for Rs 27,000. Despite an initial set back – the government ban on 3G video calls and the realisation that most of his friends do not have 3G-enabled devices – the 22-year-old does not regret his decision.

Now, he enjoys the enhanced internet speed that 3G offers and is hooked onto his handset, instead of his laptop, to chat with friends.

Akkar is one of the many 3G users across the country whose spirits were not dampened with the government diktat asking telecom operators to bar 3G video calls for security reasons.
For instance, ScalArk Inc CEO Varun Singh thinks he has made a smart move with 3G. Singh access the large music database of his computer on his mobile phone using Audio Galaxy – that remotely connects his personal computer to his mobile – without storing any files on the handset. “The same programme works with 2G as well. But it would take five minutes or more to download a song. With 3G, I can stream music live.”
It has been a little over two months since private telecom companies started 3G services with Tata Docomo launching in November and Reliance Communications in December 2010. Experts said they have already observed a trend where full-track downloads of songs and videos have increased.
However, the much-touted explosive growth in video content seems to be taking a while. “We see growth in music services in the early days, followed by snacking video content consumption,” said Albert Almeida, COO of Hungama Mobile, a mobile content and services provider.
The company already has a music player application – MyPlay – which enables consumers to browse over two million tracks and videos and create personalised playlists. The company expects the application to be more popular in the 3G environment as live streaming would be faster. 3G Internet connections offers speeds close to 4-5 mbps.
Gaming is yet another area that has seen a surge and is poised to grow even more as 3G allows high-definition, multi-player gaming. The mobile gaming industry has been growing at 10 per cent month-on-month, but in the last six months the number of games downloaded have increased by 60 per cent. Increase in the number of high-end phones in the 3G season has also contributed to the trend, experts said.
“The advent of 3G will give the same experience of gaming that one gets in a personal computer or a laptop. We expect to see an increase in games downloaded by at least by 100 per cent and as many as 60 3G-enabled games will be launched in the next few months,” said Nitish Mittersain, CEO, Nazara Technologies.
Nazara, which has a tie-up with California-based Electronic Arts (EA), is planning to get EA’s 20 3G games to India within the next three months.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) decision to lift the ban video calls on 3G mobile networks – with a rider that service providers should provide interception capabilities by July 31 – has also set the ball rolling for users to get hooked on to video calls — but that time would say. For now, users’ imagination have caught up with the animated world beyond video services on 3G.source

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