Kolkata, February 18: Every morning as the alarm lets out a shrill ring, Vishal groggily reaches for his cell phone, turns off the snooze, logs on to RockeTalk, and shouts a good morning to Sweet Punjabi_hearts. The familiar baritone of his cousin in New York booms ?Wassup bro?? while a gentle ?Sweetie? from his girlfriend reaches him from London. Welcome to the world of mobile networking, or RockeTalk, or simply put, Orkut on your mobile, where people log on to whacko communities like Sweet Punjabi-hearts and send voice messages to each other without spending a penny.
Vishal belongs to a new breed of tech savvy online socialites for whom Orkut and Hi5 are pass?, and this San Diego based mobile application is what?s in. An advanced version of these popular sites, RockeTalk is like any other social networking site, the only difference is that here the scraps get replaced by voice messages and pictures. While users like Vishal discovered RockeTalk via word of mouth, the good news is that the firm is launching formally in Delhi next month.
RockeTalk was founded in mid 2005 by an IIT alumnus Rajiv Kumar, who found the existing social networking sites very passive. ?It was born out of my desire to have a dynamic system where people could convey their emotions and send pictures any time they wanted to. So, if you?re out shopping for that special date alone and would like to know the feedback of your five close girlfriends, all you need to do is send a picture and you?ll get a response from them in less than five minutes.? Though the service was initially meant for the US market, it has successfully spread to South Africa , the Middle East, Europe and Russia but it?s India where it?s really rocking. ?We have approximately 4,000 users across the world, but a staggering 75 per cent of them are of Indian origin,? says Amy Tandon, the spokesperson for RockeTalk.
Apurv Chawla, a 27-year-old software programmer in Noida has been using it for nearly eight months and finds himself addicted to the service. ?I was travelling a lot when I heard about RockeTalk through a friend. I?ve been a regular user of the application since then as it helps me stay connected 24x7 no matter where I am. What I really like about it is that it allows you to configure instant messengers on your cell. I start chatting with my friends in the US at around 9 pm every night and easily spend around five hours on my phone,? he says.
Thanks to the service, the rocketalkers never find themselves lonely. When the day is dull and friends are away, you?ll find them playing pranks on each other by sending anonymous voice messages or even starting a round of Antakshari in their own voices. Rahul Rai, an MBA aspirant read about it on rival Orkut three months back and found the concept of voice chatting too good to resist. He remarks, ?I installed the application as I was really excited about sending voice messages. I have also created a community devoted to Swami Vivekanand called Brothers and Sisters of America, where we discuss his teachings.? Ask the users if there is anything they find lacking in RockeTalk and Apurv replies promptly, ?I want the option of sending videos and multiple pictures.? Luckily for him, that?s on the cards too. ?The video testing is on and once the service is launched formally, the users will be able to send videos to each other,? informs Rajiv.
Currently a beta version is available on the site www.rocketalk.com. The mobile user with a GPRS or an Internet connection can download the software directly from the site free of cost. But don?t get too excited as there is one major dampener. The service will be available only on limited phones, including the Symbian Nokia series 60, N series and the phones with windows operating system like Treo 700w, Treo 700wx, MDA, SDA, Moto Q and I-Mate KJAM. For other mobile users, good old Orkut will have to do for now!