Firstouch a technology series of Hindi & Marathi Language in Smartphone

Firstouch plans to launch phones in Tamil, Telegu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Oriya and rest of the regional languages by March 2015.

July 21, 2014 4:29 IST | India Infoline News Service
Firstouch, a Technology Start-up company founded by IIT graduates, who have been in news for launching World’s First Regional Smartphone FIRSTOUCH, the true regional Smartphone which can translate & transliterate Indian Regional Languages text to English and vice – versa just with a swipe is in talks with venture capital and private equity funds to raise $10 million (Rs 60 crore) for the launch of Firstouch Marathi & Hindi Language Smartphone.

Firstouch who revolutionized the Mobile Phone Industry by launching Gujarati Language Smartphone as first in the series of Indian language phones in May 2014, is now ripe for Series A investment to usher in a new digital revolution in the Smartphone industry by launching Hindi & Marathi Language Smartphone. The company has plans to launch Firstouch phones in Tamil, Telegu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Oriya and rest of the regional languages by March 2015. They will launch 10 models of Firstouch Regional Smartphone in price bracket Rs 3,500 to Rs 12,500 in the next one year.

Three former IIT graduates Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudhir Bangarambandi have gone into creating an Operating System that would now cater to Indians who don’t count English as their first, second or third language of communication.

Rakesh Deshmukh, CEO, Firstouch said “We are in discussions with global PE funds that are focused on India as well as with venture capitalists that want to invest in technology and rural education. The company has begun sales of the Gujarati Smartphone through 270 stores. It has opened six service centers in Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat. There is a huge demand from other states for other regional language phones. Many established, well known distributors are already at an advance stage of talk with Firstouch for getting distribution. We are aggressively looking at geographical expansion within the country.”

“Since, Hindi is the largest speaking regional language comprising of 41.03%, hence, we had decided to launch the Hindi language phone after the launch of Gujarati language phone.” Deshmukh added.

Quoting an IDC report, Deshmkuh said the next 500 million subscribers will come from the rural market. “If any company has to penetrate this segment of market then it will be possible only with regional offering. Firstouch’s vision is to bridge digital divide in India by bringing language based technologies integrated with operating system.”The Telecom Service Providers and Content Partners can also contribute immensely to fasten the process of connecting India digitally under Governments’ National ‘e-Bhasha' Mission by adopting Firstouch, Regional Language Smartphone.

No other Language Smartphone have customized their operating system to cater to the needs and desires of a regional Smartphone user. They just add a language to the phone. Their Indian Language keyboards are unable to accommodate Indian alphabets and matras together, and the user who switches from a feature phone to a Smartphone finds it very difficult to operate.

Until now, regionalising a mobile phone in India has meant putting in keyboards for a bunch of languages. Firstouch, the true regional smartphone has shown us how and why one needed to go much more beyond that.

It has developed a swipe technology, which allows consumers to translate & transliterate Indian Regional Languages text to English and vice – versa just with a single swipe. It has also apparently developed a 48-key predictive vernacular keyboard which is designed to easily type Indian matras & characters with features like auto-complete and word suggestions among others. The phone also comes with a Regional app store ‘APP BAZAAR’ featuring Regional apps across various categories. The company has integrated operator billing gateway so that App Bazaar users are not depended on credit card purchase.

Seed funded by serial entrepreneur Hari Padmanabhan, Firstouch is the first and only regional Smartphone in the world who has customized their operating system after two years of research, according to the needs of the rural and semi-urban consumers those who are not comfortable with English as a language for communication but offer a big growth market for telecom operators and device makers.

Elaborating on the revenue generation model of this venture, Vaibhav Shastri, Director, Sales, Firstouch said “We will work on two models for revenue. First one is traditional wherein our revenue will link with units sold in market and second model is the revenue that will be generated by selling vernacular content through the phone's localised vernacular app store- App Bazaar.”

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