Nokia announced its intentions to provide agricultural information and education content to lower-end feature handsets in India. The service, called Nokia Life Tools, will wrap an SMS data channel with a graphic-rich interface. Reuters Marketlight is the content partner for the agriculture side. Idea Cellular is the first operator to sign up. OnMobile, another Indian mobile content provider, is also on-board, contributing astrology and ringtone services.
Over time, it will be interesting to see the relative take-up of the various instrumental and expressive services on offer. In the meantime, think the fusion of a graphic interface and the SMS channel is particularly notable for developing-world contexts. (Also see the mobile-XL browser). These forms bypass the need for a GPRS-enabled handset or data plan, and stretch the capabilities of the ‘humble’ SMS.
Ken Banks at kiwanja.net has a longer write-up.