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

Hi Silvano


Welcome back to the discussion. Hope you had a nice holiday..!


Perhaps you’re right about the timeframes for the trickle-down effect on
these handsets, but I still think we’re a little while away from rural
populations walking around with high-end handsets or smart phones in their
pockets. The point I was trying to make at the conference/workshop was that
we should be aware of the reality, but I still believe strongly that we need
to start the discussion the other way round – that we are driven by need and
not the technology. The kinds of questions which came from the event need
addressing and investigating first – things like “what do we mean by mobile
web?”, and “what does this mean to rural populations?”, and “what elements
of a mobile web are relevant in their lives?”. The reason services such as
Mobile4Good (http://uk.oneworld.net/section/mobile) have worked is that they
address and meet a very specific need, i.e. an economic one. People will pay
for a service if they see relevance and value. Surfing the web on a device
is going to cost, too – so we need to perhaps think about what this means in
a similar context. You could still argue that, today, SMS is potentially far
more relevant to these people than a mobile web (whatever that looks like).


Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s good we’re having this discussion.



www.kiwanja.net <http://www.kiwanja.net/> 



From: silvano de gennaro [mailto:silvano.de.gennaro@cern.ch] 
Sent: 01 March 2007 08:53
To: stephane boyera
Cc: Ken Banks, kiwanja.net; Venkatesh Choppella; Charles McCathieNevile;
Nathan Eagle; public-mwi-ec@w3.org; jan.chipchase@nokia.com
Subject: Re: White paper on the potential next steps on mobile web in
developing countries


Hi all,


sorry for the late reaction, just back from hols. Hey I still have one of
those phones in the picture at the bottom of my drawer, guess I replaced it
by a graphic screen one around 2001, which means that the recycling
timescale is around 5-6 years however... was just talking to Mark
Shuttleworth yesterday. Ubuntu is being ported to smartphones, PDAs etc.
Most smartphones run some form of Linux, and the smartphone revolution is
just behind the corner. The Apple iphone will set new standards and
consequently prices of existing ones are going to drop within the next few
months. That means that all of us (not just the Nokia guys) will walk around
with one in our pocket, which in turn means that within a year or two the
Sony-Ericsson currently in my pocket with be on a Bamako market. What I'm
saying is, let's not waste time catering for text-only phones, those will
disappear soon, as a major technology upscaling is just behind the corner,
and by the time we have ported Opera to one-line phones, those will be in
monkeys hands, or in a museum.


I also added Venkatesh Choppella (Indian Inst. of Info. Tech. & Mgmt --
Kerala) to the list, as he is hot on the topic.


Stephane, what else happened while I was away? any news on the Brussels






Silvano de Gennaro           

Head, Multimedia Productions

Communications Group
Fax: +4122.766.9188

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research               www.cern.ch

1211 Geneva - Switzerland
....where the web was born


On 13 févr. 07, at 08:11, Nathan Eagle wrote:


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, kiwanja.net 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?


-----Original Message-----

From: public-mwi-ec-request@w3.org [mailto:public-mwi-ec-request@w3.org] On

Behalf Of stephane boyera

Sent: 12 February 2007 07:14

To: Charles McCathieNevile

Cc: public-mwi-ec@w3.org

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


expensive mobile tablet type devices. It is also important to include


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

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


the web should work fine on such a browser, I am not sure that the


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


than it was then, and by the time you have the capacity to put networking


web page processing on the phone, you generally have the power to put a


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 :
p> &language=ENG&p

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)





Received on Thursday, 1 March 2007 19:20:01 UTC