Announcing Cleartrip for mobile phones

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the availability of Cleartrip optimised for use on mobile phones. We know there’s a lot of users out there that have been very vocal in asking us to do this; so, today, we’re very happy to finally make Cleartrip available on your mobile phone.

There’s no fiddly applications to download or install–just visit www.cleartrip.com from your mobile device and you will automatically be shown the mobile version of our site. The mobile site can also be accessed by typing www.cleartrip.com/m into your phone’s browser.

We’ve kept the functionality to its bare minimum for launch. This is the simplest, most stripped down version of our product we could conceive. It’s what they like to call a minimum viable product:

Minimum Viable Product is a strategy used for fast and quantitative market testing of a product or product feature… A Minimum Viable Product has just those features (and no more) that allows the product to be deployed… It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want.

At this time, Cleartrip’s mobile product allows users to make one-way domestic flight bookings for a single adult only. Only credit card payments are accepted. Search results can be sorted by time or by price; and in addition to sorting, results can be filtered based on airlines or departure time. That’s it, we’ve kept it as simple as we could–even the booking process requires customers to fill out fewer than half the fields they have to fill out on the regular Cleartrip web site.

Why is it such a basic, minimal product? Because we want to put something solid out there that works well and use it to understand how much further we should be investing in delivering products optimised for mobile phones. We’ve all heard the numbers–India has half a billion mobile subscribers–but it isn’t clear that these people are ready to buy travel on their phones just yet. Based on our conversations with telcos and other companies, ringtones and games are the only things people are buying on their phones.

Given what we learned from these conversations, we decided to release the simplest product we could. We’ll wait and see what the adoption of this product is before we decide on how much we should be investing in mobile products at this stage.

If you’re a huge fan of the mobile internet and would like to see us investing more in mobile products, we’re counting on you to help us drive adoption–the more adoption there is, the more we will be willing to invest in mobile product development and innovation.

As an aside, we’d like to add that Cleartrip’s mobile site is the only secure mobile travel web site in India at this time. We’ve explored a lot of different sites while designing and building this product and every site we’ve used is not secure or safe for transactions. Shame on people for deploying insecure mobile web sites at a time when the Internet industry should be doing everything in its power to help grow trust in mobile as a safe and secure platform for transactions.

It’s been a long time coming, but we hope you think it was worth the wait. We’ve tested this across a wide variety of phones–from the most basic to the most advanced–and found that it works fairly well across devices. Give it a whirl and leave comments with your feedback, questions or requests.

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