Re: White paper on the potential next steps on mobile web in developing countries

I'm seeing the same thing in Kenya - the Motorola is available in the 
small town I'm living in, but i don't know anyone who is considering 
buying it. The vast majority (>90%) of mobile phone users here don't buy 
new phones, but rather ones like Ken showed in that photo. And people 
who are willing to spend 40 bucks on a phone can get a much fancier 
(used) phone with a camera and color screen for that kind of money...

I'm cc:ing Jan Chipchase on this conversation as well. He is a 
researcher/designer at Nokia working in this space on projects such as 
developing phone interfaces for illiterate users in the developing worlds.


Ken Banks, wrote:
> Hello all
> I tend to agree with Stephane's comments, particularly in the light of my
> feelings about developing appropriate solutions to whatever the actual need
> is. I'm not sure if we really know this yet.
> A friend of mine took this picture for me LAST MONTH at a market in India.
> Just as a point of reference, these are the kinds of phones being purchased
> by many in that country in poorer (and maybe not-so-poor) areas today:
> We all had deep discussions about handset entry points, and where we looked
> to start provision of mobile web. Again, I'm not sure if this was decided.
> Do we build for a minimum of a mini-WEB browser, with colour screen etc. or
> consider earlier monochrome, WAP-enabled devices like some of these?
> Ken
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of stephane boyera
> Sent: 12 February 2007 07:14
> To: Charles McCathieNevile
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: White paper on the potential next steps on mobile web in
> developing countries
>> In looking at guidelines for developing mobile applications, this work
> should be 
>> coordinated wth the existing work on Mobile Web Best Practices, with a
> goal of 
>> ensuring that there is a seamless transition from feature phones to
> high-end 
>> expensive mobile tablet type devices. It is also important to include
> hardware 
>> manufacturers and network operators in this kind of discussion (as we have
>> already done in Mobile Web Best Practices). But even more important is to 
>> include people who are deploying applications.
> Yes exactly ! just a small comment. I'm not sure it was that clear in my 
> doc.
> My view is that we should not develop guidelines focused on mobile 
> applications, which should be more the work on MWI-BP group, but we 
> should develop guidelines on how to make successful ICT projects aimed 
> at underpriviledged population or rural communities. During the workshop 
> in bangalore, we listened to few presentation which explained the 
> importance of the social, cultural, human aspects to make successful 
> services. It is what i've in mind. Probably those guidelines are partly 
> global, and may also have some parts depending on the region.
>> The suggestion of a text based browser is an interesting one. While in
> principle 
>> the web should work fine on such a browser, I am not sure that the
> intermediate 
>> step is as valid now as it was in the early days of the web. It seems that
>> graphics capability is relatively much cheaper (compared to computing
> power) 
>> than it was then, and by the time you have the capacity to put networking
> and 
>> web page processing on the phone, you generally have the power to put a
> full 
>> browser there.
> My personal feeling is that as of today we are missing numbers about 
> what are the capabilities of the vast majority of phones available in 
> developing countries. I think before going one way or the other, we 
> would focus on getting those numbers.
> That said, the current specification of the wining Emerging Market 
> Handset (motorola c113a) is pretty low : 
> roductid=30403&strPrimaryOption=FS&lSecondaryOption=-1 
> :
> Display : monochrome 96 x 64 pixels
> (however no info on available memory, cpu browser, and what could be the 
> footprint of a potential browser)
> Stephane

Received on Wednesday, 14 February 2007 04:44:13 UTC