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Street App Stores: Disruptions to Watch

Kabul: market & content kiosks

Many Kabuli residents looking for new mobile phone ringtones, wallpapers and applications to spice up their mobile phone turn to their neighbourhood content kiosk – all that is needed to set up as a vendor is a PC; access to power; a DVD starter pack of pirated content and walk-by trade. Whilst the market today is dominated by stand-alone specialists this will change.

Expect to see three disruptions in this space: the prevalence of cheap net books will lower the cost of entry and enabled vendors without constant access to mains power and/or a backup generator to set up shop – currently most content sits on desktop PC’s, the mobility offered by net books make it feasible to perch a unit to the side of a shop counter and gives the vendor something to do (playing games) whilst waiting for the next customer; the global move towards Micro-USB for charging mobile phones will also lower the barriers to transfer data – currently there are numerous methods to move data from PC to mobile phone and the consumer experience is highly variable – a standardised service makes it more of a viable proposition, and the net book is also able to function as a charging hub, and whilst not ideal it enables drop-off/ transfer/pick-up type behaviours; a shorter distance to the nearest internet connected hub to download/obtain recent content for resale.

Behavioural change? Content provision becomes much more of an impulse purchase.

Net books aren’t particularly well suited to dusty environments – something that may reduce their working life to ~12 months. Whether the street hack guys will step up and repair devices will depend on the volumes sold and whether components are sufficiently standardised.