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Mobiles connecting the social world better


Bangalore: Renjith Menon wants his cell phone to do much more than just calling and sending SMS. He wants every possible means of entertainment in it, apart from the functions that can manage his everyday affairs. Renjith is the user of today's smartphones. These demands from the users have paved the way for a plethora of applications (apps as we call them) that have been created for various platforms. Have you ever wondered what kind of apps are the most popular among the users? If you own a smartphone as well, you know the answer. It's the social networking apps, and they are gaining more popularity in smartphones than in PCs. A global study by Nokia has showed that social networking apps are the most popular in India, and they are followed by music, business, utilities and games apps. What has given rise to this trend? Well, there are some reasons that are responsible for making social networking such a popular mobile web activity. The explosion of smartphones and their host of applications, 3G network speeds and more affordable data plans, built in web browsers and mobile-ready websites are some of the key reasons. However, not only social networking, these factors have also played a crucial role in increasing mobile web use as a whole.

There are people who spend hours in front of their computer systems searching news sites, reading RSS feeds, updating Twitter and chatting on Facebook. But there are also people who spend more time offline than on. For them, the time in front of the PC is spent doing business-related activities at the office, followed by shorter after-hours web surfing that includes catching up with friends on Facebook, reading emails, downloading music and the likes. But even this brief online session also gets mixed together with other real world activities. Hence, the rise of the mobile phone corresponds with the rise in social networking sites like Facebook.

According to recent study done by ComScore, 20 percent of mobile users access social networking sites via their phone, and considering the growing popularity of social networking, both application and browser usage will continue to drive future consumption of social media. Smartphone manufacturers are very much concerned about this trend. Smelling the enormous growth in the popularity of social networking in the near future, manufacturers are rolling out new social media enabled smartphones every other day.

Aiming to benefit from booming growth in social networking, cell phone maker INQ Mobile recently unveiled its first two smartphones running Google's Android software. The new models integrate key features of social network Facebook into the phone's key applications. Another smartphone manufacturer HTC has also launched two new models few days back that incorporate Facebook features directly into the user interface of the phone.

Most of the new Nokia phones like N8, C7 and other running Symbian^3 OS got embedded Facebook support. Other players like Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG are also rolling out their smartphones with Facebook features. Facebook itself come up with an official mobile app that supports about 2500 devices from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and other java phones. Developed in collaboration with Snaptu (a popular social app) this app is available in few of the countries only, but will be available in many more countries very soon.

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