Smartphone


It has always puzzled me why we have to conduct expensive surveys to find out what mobile operators already know. Every CDR [Call Detail Record] captures the IMEI number of the handset. It’s nothing to report this and thereby support those who are developing apps. Here is one MNO giving the data: Huawei was the most popular mobile handset brand among Telenor customers, according to a report from Telenor Myanmar. The report shows 24 percent of Telenor Myanmar’s over 19 million subscribers used Huawei handsets in 2017.
We had the good fortune to develop a proposal on training app developers before smartphone started dominating the markets we care about. We did not get the money; they gave it to some Pakistani government outfit that could not even start the work, but that aside, we benefited from the exercise. It forced us to stretch our thinking. In the same way, this article which is about Alexa and its variants is useful in stretching our thinking beyond the smartphone. Modern smartphone platforms have become a minefield of distractions, dominated by social media apps whose primary goal is to occupy ever more time.
In the course of a peer review, I wrote the following: Most people will connect to the Internet wirelessly. Some will be wireless for a few meters (WiFi), others for a few kilometers. All will use fiber for some parts of the connection, some in the form of FTTP, others in the form of backhaul capacity. In many cases, fixed 4G (wireless) is a direct substitute for wired connections. Our research shows that most people in lower-middle-income countries connect to the Internet using smartphones and tablets over mobile networks.
Apparently, the mechanism to shut off the screen when an iPhone was brought close to one’s head did not recognize black hair at the outset. The book review has such nuggets. The book must have much more. In fact, although it would eventually emerge as the gleaming quintessence of the collaboration between the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Apple’s design magus, Jony Ive, Purple could seem like a nightmare of overwork, insoluble technical tarballs and political infighting. “You created a pressure cooker of a bunch of really smart people with an impossible deadline, an impossible mission, and then you hear that the future of the entire company is resting on it,” Andy Grignon, one of the iPhone’s key engineers, has said.
Six years ago, we were discussing how to accelerate app development in the context of a proposal we submitted to infoDev. Instead of giving the grant to us, they chose to give it to some Pakistani government outfit where the entire thing was still-born. But the relevance to the question of what comes after the smartphone is a conversation I had with Sanjiva Weerawarana, one of Sri Lanka’s ICT leaders. It is easy now to talk about how popular smartphones would be. But back in 2011 it took some foresight to claim as Sanjiva did that smartphones would dominate the marketplace.
The Department of Census and Statistics has published the preliminary results of the 2016 Computer Literacy Survey. The survey has its beginnings in the e Sri Lanka initiative which supported the initial iterations starting from 2004. This is the sixth in the series. One expects indicators such as literacy and device ownership to increase every year. But not in 2016.
A US lawmaker’s comment that people should give up their smartphones and pay more for health insurance has led to an outpouring of statements about the utility of the many uses that can be made of smartphones: “A cellphone is a lifeline,” said Myla Dutton, executive director of Community Action Provo, a food bank and social-service nonprofit. Jose Valdivia, 61, said he wouldn’t be able to quickly look up the latest engine modifications when he was repairing sport-utility vehicles at the mechanic’s shop where he works. His wife said they wouldn’t be able to send photos to relatives in Mexico City. The couple spoke as they waited for an appointment at a free health clinic run by volunteer nurses and doctors two nights a week in Provo. Not surprisingly, smartphones abounded in the waiting room.

The importance of scale

Posted by on February 20, 2017  /  0 Comments

One of the first things Ashok Jhunjhunwala said when we started working together was that in India scale was everything. He should know, having spun off a number of companies and suffered some failures as well. I find it difficult to get excited about stories like this, because these initiatives addressing 16,000 women in the country of 1.2 billion people are unlikely to scale. Of course, one hopes they will succeed.
The LIRNEasia representative-sample survey conducted in 2016 found that 78 percent of phone users had smartphones. A supply-side report confirms this. As with many developing countries, low-cost smartphones continue to thrive in Myanmar. In 2016Q3, 89% of smartphone shipments to the country fall below US$225. “Smartphones priced at US$50
As we move toward the Next Billion surveys that will cover a lot more ground than the Myanmar we currently cover, it’s interesting to see what demand-side research looks like in other countries. Here’s Nielsen. In third-quarter 2016, 12% of smartphone owners said they had recently acquired their handset (within the last three months). Among recent phone acquirers in general, 93% chose to purchase a smartphone, compared with 90% in the third quarter of 2015. Overall smartphone penetration continues to rise rapidly, growing about eight percentage points year-over-year from 80% in third-quarter 2015 to 88% in third-quarter 2016.
I understand that smartphone penetration is even higher according to the 2016 survey, where the analysis is almost complete. But here is what the ITU says about Myanmar’s ICT progress, using LIRNEasia’s 2015 data: These improvements in affordability and network availability help to explain the country’s fast Internet uptake, supported by two other trends that distinguish Myanmar from neighbouring markets. Firstly, smartphone penetration is very high, reaching 66 per cent of phone owners in early 2015 according to a survey by the independent research institute LIRNEasia.18 According to Ooredoo, as many as 80 per cent of mobile-phone users opt for smartphones (Oxford Business Group, 2015). Secondly, growth in data usage has overtaken growth in voice traffic.
Even before we officially launch the gender study, it is being used in Myanmar. A recent report on gender and connectivity by GSMA and Sri Lanka based think tank LIRNEasia said that mobile phones have come to symbolise status in Myanmar. “Despite the cost barrier, people are often not interested in keypad phones or less expensive smartphones, which are also perceived as low-quality,” said the report. Mr Meza said that outside Myanmar’s cities, the phone would find its audience. “In Yangon people will go out of their way to get … the latest iPhone, Samsung, HTC [device], but the country has 680,000 square kilometres so life doesn’t end in Yangon.
The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 according to the universal declaration of Human Rights and international conventions on human rights. Sri Lanka has signed the convention in 2007 and the proposal made by S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, to ratify the convention for the benefit of Sri Lankan disabled persons, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Link to Cabinet decision.
I received this as a forwarded email with no comments from a person who is influential in the ICT space. The Indian smartphone market made a 0.7 percent increase from September to October, vaulting the nation over the 1 billion user threshold to 1.03 billion users. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India just released this information yesterday, making India the second country in the world to reach this milestone.
Returning from an expert meeting on big data n Bangkok, I was in the passenger seat on the way back from the airport. Looked up Google maps for the traffic. This feature has been available in Sri Lanka only for a few weeks. On the main roads, it was pretty accurate. Once we turned off to a busy, but not-a-principal road, the traffic indicator went blank.
I first heard about government entering the business of manufacturing phones when I was (futilely) advising the government of Bangladesh on formulating a national telecom policy. They had some bankrupt telecom equipment factories and I was asked what to do with them. I said, not much. Then my friends in India started to show me numbers for what India was spending on importing equipment for the telecom industry. This cannot continue, they said.