Smartphones are the PCs of the developing world – tech – 01 August 2007 – New Scientist Tech
Being able to communicate in real time via speech and text using basic cellphones has already proved invaluable for communities that were never connected by landlines. Ajedi-ka, an organisation that works to promote human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, distributes phones to local teachers, elders and business leaders so that they can report incidents of children being drafted as soldiers. The phones make reporting faster and easier. Meanwhile, health workers across the developing world have started using cellphones to monitor disease outbreaks in real time. In Kenya phones are being turned into mini-ATM machines via Vodafone’s M-PESA program, which allows users to load money onto their phones in shops and then send it via a text message to someone else, in their village say. They can also withdraw the money at another location using a password, which in Kenya can be much safer than carrying cash.
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The issue is not whether or not mobile communication is undergoing a paradigm shift. We all know that happening and hopefully no disagreements over that.
The issue is rather *how* exactly this paradigm shift happens. In which way we transform the tool and the mode? Say in another 10 years what we will be having in our pockets? A phone camera PC PDA ebook epurse radio TV navigator…..? What exactly the change it might bring in the social context, especially in the developing countries?
We predict some developments, of course, but I am certain when happens it will take us all off guard.
Full report can be downloaded at: http://www.gsmworld.com/digitaldivide/micropayments.shtml
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