Android application development is the latest trend in technology. Many Android development training institutions have popped up across major cities with students and enthusiasts lining up for courses. Many reputed institutions as well as universities have begun to provide such courses in Android application development. There are many reasons for people to love Android – it is an open platform with a large user base and an equally large developer community, Android is backed by large businesses like Google and Samsung and most of all, Android development is either gratis or very cheap. The lucrative and quickly evolving design paradigms of the Android platform, along with its availability on a plethora of devices ranging from low-range cellphones to high-end mobile devices and other appliances such as the Android watch, smart TVs and much more. This wide range of availability is due to Android’s free and open-source license.
With the Android development community now bustling with amateurs and professionals alike, it is high time we asked the question – Is Android Really flourishing in Nepal?
More Customers or Higher Prices. One of these is crucial to the success of a product. Either the business sells the product at a cheap price to a lot of customers, or they sell the product at a high price to fewer customers. I shall discuss the opportunities that android development can provide to engineers, entrepreneurs, business-people and the like in Nepal using this sutra as the basis of my discussion.
The fundamental need for every business is “making money”. Every action a business takes is towards that goal. For an android developer, the only options for generating revenue are through advertisements and endorsements. While endorsements for android applications are difficult at the least, most android developers do earn through advertisements. For an advertisement-based business to stay afloat, the product needs to be sold for free or at a very cheap price. Again, payment for android applications in Nepal is next to nil, therefore developers focus on distributing free applications, and generating ad-commissions.
It is clear that the Nepali Android market is heavily, if not wholly dependent on advertisements. Because of this, most android developers focus on download rates more than any other aspect of the development process. This led me to investigate the question – How many people use android phones?
At a glance, there seems to be an obvious answer – a lot of people use android. Everyone I know has a smart phone, most probably an android. Yet, when querying data on the subject, I found an astounding result. Only about 9% Nepali have an android phone. That is 26 million potential Nepali customers that the technology sector is not serving.
I made the assumption that every Nepali with an android phone also has a Facebook account. According to statistics, there are about 5.5 million Facebook users in Nepal as of this writing. Among those, about 44% use Facebook via and android device. This gives an approximate 2.5 million android users in Nepal. The total population of Nepal is 28.2 million. Therefore approximately 8.6% ~ 9% of Nepal uses android phones.
This data helped me wrap my mind around the technology bubble that android training institutions have created. This data was enough to convince me to research other sectors where a Nepali Software business can flourish. I asked myself – What group in Nepal has the largest percentage of people? The obvious answer was Agriculture. About 80% of the country is involved in agriculture. The Agriculture is a multi-million rupee industry covering people of all backgrounds across the country. No other sector is as widespread and ingrained in the Nepali way of life than agriculture.
As I see it, the future of technology is in widespread country-wide usage of multi-purpose publicly accessible computers for a variety of tasks ranging from Public Internet Phone Booths and online legal guidance and medical support to electronic book-readers for students across the country.
It is high time we stop relying on sponsorships, grants, government support and start pushing our way towards a brighter prosperous market in Nepal. The way forward for me is agriculture and public computers.