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August 21st, 2011

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02:51 pm - Smartphones in Africa and Continuing Global Change
Here's a fascinating article about a $80 Android smartphone that's selling really well in Kenya (almost 1% of the population owns it). It's also not a bad phone, other than the slightly smaller screen size, it's superior to the first iphone in pretty much all ways, such are the ways of Moore's Law. In any case, currently, approximately one third of humanity is on the internet (which is amazing and wonderful in and of itself), which means that almost everyone in the developed world who wants to be on-line already is, and so the next step is to get the developing world on-line.

A few years ago, I posted a link to an article about how low-cost cellphones was changing lives and economics in the developing world. This is even more impressive, because people are writing apps specifically for local farming and medical care. Currently, "among the estimated 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2010, 3.8 billion will be in the developing world.", meaning that around 77% of the world population has cellphone service. Even more impressively, in 4 or 5 years, that $80 smartphone will be replaced by a somewhat better $20 smartphone, which means that we're looking at having 60-80% of the world population being on-line.

I remember back in the late 90s, when the number of internet users passed 100 million (I just checked, and 150 million people were on-line in 1999), and people talked about the internet being equivalent to a nation, soon it will be equivalent to a planet. That's amazing, especially given the fact that soon most people on the planet will have access to almost all forms of information at their fingertips. I'm not optimistic about the US, but in 2020 will be a more amazing place, and as I've said before, I can't make any predictions for 2030, because technology and its social implications are changing far too fast for that sort of prediction to be say more about the future than about my own preconceptions.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
Yay!!! This is awesome!!! Win!
[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
Cellphones and cheap minutes are probably at least as transformative as computers and cheap access to the internet.

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