Developed world’s bastions of consumer electronics have fallen like house of cards. Thanks to the proliferation of cheaper components. Off-shoring of manufacturing to developing world has also built its capacity to produce cheaper devices and even counterfeit. Control of mobile terminals is now at terminal stage. The market has been fast migrating to the world of solution and applications. This is where the developed world is losing dominance.
More significant is what poor countries are doing with technology once they get it. One well-known example of poor-country innovation is M-PESA, a mobile money-transfer system that started in Kenya and is catching on in Asia.
More recently an Indian entrepreneur created Hike, a mobile-messaging app like WhatsApp and Viber, which lets smartphone users send messages using data connections, bypassing sms charges. But Hike also works with non-smartphones. In India, with a smartphone penetration rate of only 6%, that is an essential feature for many. Nothing similar is offered by any of the big messaging apps—not even China’s WeChat, poised to become the world’s largest.